New rules for robocalls
Updated federal regulations require that telemarketers get your written permission before sending you prerecorded messages. Political campaigns and charities are exempt.
This post comes from Matt Brownell at partner site MainStreet.
The good news is that the government just took a decisive step in regulating the practice of robocalling.(Post continues below.)
Under new rules issued this week by the Federal Communications Commission, telemarketers will be required to get express written consent from consumers before they're allowed to make robocalls. Telemarketers will also be forbidden from claiming that consent is implied based on a prior business relationship with the consumer -- for instance, if you've previously done business with an Internet provider.
Here are answers to some questions you might have about the new rules:
If I give consent, can I later change my mind?
While we can't imagine that many people will choose to opt in to receiving robocalls from telemarketers, if you do decide you'd like to hear what a company has to say and later change your mind, you'll be able to take your number off the list.
"Should consumers change their minds and decide that they no longer want to receive even those calls, they will soon be able to easily opt out at any point during a call through the automated functionality we now require," explained Commissioner Mignon L. Clyburn in a statement.
When will the new rules go into effect?
Before the rules can become official, the Office of Management and Budget must publish its approval in the Federal Register. Once that happens, the clock starts ticking: Telemarketers will have exactly 12 months to implement the new rule requiring express written consent from consumers, and the "prior business relationship" exemption will be phased out during the same time period.
But another deadline will come more quickly for robocallers: Within 90 days of the new rules becoming official, telemarketers will have to implement a new opt-out mechanism that allows consumers to opt out of receiving robocalls in the middle of a call.
What if a telemarketer breaks the rules?
If after 90 days you get a robocall without an opt-out mechanism, or after 12 months you get a robocall you didn't consent to, your best bet is to complain directly to the FCC. Visit FCC.gov/complaints, select the "Telemarketing, Prerecorded Messages, Caller ID Spoofing, and Do-Not-Call" option, and follow the instructions to file your complaint.
Are any robocalls exempt?
The new rules apply only to telemarketers, which means certain classes of robocalls will still be allowed. For instance, if your pharmacy wants to inform you that your prescription is available, it may use an automatic calling service, as can public schools that wish to inform you of school closings. And calls made by charities or political campaigns will still be legal under the new rules, with or without your consent.
More on MainStreet and MSN Money:
Why are political and charity groups exempt. They are the worst abusers and NO ONE should be allowed to ignore a do not call list
These calls are now coming out of Canada - can the US do anything to stop these?
Neither charity or political calls should be allowed.
Keep in mind - I went into Sears - bought a pair of shoes. At the register a clerk ask for my phone number - I gave her an out of use landline. She told me to sign an electronic pad just to confirm that she put the phone number in correctly. I read the text on the pad - it stated that I was giving permission to get text messages from Sears on my cell phone.
Sears trained this woman to be a "bald faced" LIAR - won't be buying anything at Sears in the near future.
Ever get one of those? Even if I actually owed them money, I can't imagine anyone actually responding to such nonsense. GOD BLESS CALLER ID--I haven't answered the phone in 10 years.
I have a landline and a cell phone, I seldom use my landline and that is the phone that receives constant telemarketing calls. This phone has a answering machine, so I decided to edit my recording to the following message.
You have reached a telemarketer. I am in the middle of a meal right now, if you leave your personal name and personal number, I will call you at your house at an inconvenient time,. Take my name off of your list. My friends and family can reach me at an alternate number. Please wait for the beep.
Now I can sit back and listen to the confused responses on the other end.
I never donate to a charity by phone and I make this clear when they call. Many charities receive very little of your donation, sometimes as little as 10 percent, telemarketing company gets remainder for administration costs. Those we donate to get an unsolicited check in the mail. Since I began questioning the amount that actually goes to the charity we receive very few calls.
I've re-started a tactic I used several years ago and had added it to my spam replies. "Company, you have decided to use my communications channel (email, cellphone, etc.) for advertsing purposes. As you have seen fit to use this channel I wish to inform you further usage of said channel will be charged back to you at $1000.00 per incident. Further usage of the channel is agreement to these terms and conditions"
Its amazing how quickly unwanted commuications stop. --and yes I would go after violaters in small claims court. It cost them much more to defend such than its worth to fight :-)
The robocalls from Rachel informing people that they may qualify for lower credit card interests is insidious. I receive minimally 2 to 4 times a day on my cell phones. The worst part is the origin phone numbers rotate from Idaho, California, Arizona, Iowa, Texas, and Illinois.
On one time, I spoke to a live person. Strung them on that I owed $20K, and needed immediate relief. They checked my address and said "F___ You" and hung up. Then the numbers calls recheted up to 6 to 8 per day.
Finally stopped it, when I forwarded my cell phone to the State Attorney General.
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