Consumers who receive prerecorded telemarketing calls (or "robocalls") must be given the chance to opt out of future calls from the soliciting business or charity, under a new Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rule that took affect Monday.
According to Monday's announcement from the FTC, "Prerecorded telemarketing messages are permitted only in limited circumstances – only when the caller has an established business relationship with the consumer being called." Now, consumers must also be offered a "quick and easy way to opt-out of receiving future calls," whether the "robocall" is answered by a person or by an answering machine.
An August 2008 FTC News Release announcing the telemarketing rule changes stated that any prerecorded telemarketing call must "disclose at the outset of the call that the recipient may ask to be placed on the company's do-not-call list at any time during the message," by making "an automated interactive voice and/or keypress-activated opt-out mechanism available during the message that adds the phone number to the company's do-not-call list and then immediately ends the call." The new rules are amendments to a federal regulation called the Telemarketing Sales Rule (see the complete text of the Federal Register Notice on the Telemarketing Sales Rule amendments [PDF file]).