New Consumer Protections Against Unwanted Robocalls and Texts
Under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) established the rules that address unsolicited telephone marketing calls including automated and prerecorded messages. For details about those rules, visit the FCC website.
Last month the FCC clarified certain rules regarding marketing calls established by the TCPA. These clarifications should benefit consumers by adding additional protection. Highlights include:
- Allowing service providers to offer robocall blocking technologies to consumers.
- Instructing consumers that they can revoke their consent to robocalls and robotexts.
- Noting that if a phone number has been reassigned, companies must stop calling the number after one call.
- Clarifying that a consumer whose name is in the contacts list of an acquaintance’s phone does not consent to receive robocalls from third-party applications downloaded by the acquaintance.
It should be noted that these rule clarifications make no changes to the Do-Not-Call Registry, which restricts unwanted telemarketing calls, but are intended to build on the Registry’s effectiveness by closing loopholes and ensuring that consumers are fully protected from unwanted calls, including those not covered by the Registry.
The recent published clarifications also affirm the Law’s Definition of Autodialer, that “Autodialer” is defined in the Act as any technology with the capacity to dial random or sequential numbers. This definition ensures that robocallers cannot skirt consumer consent requirements through changes in calling technology design or by calling from a list of numbers.
The rules apply to cellphone and landlines, with additional clarifications offered for cellphone users:
- The Commission reaffirmed that consumers are entitled to the same consent-based protections for texts as they are for voice calls to wireless numbers.
- Equipment used to send Internet-to-phone text messages is a type of autodialer, so the caller must have consumer consent before calling.
- Very Limited and Specific Exemptions for Urgent Circumstances apply such as free calls or texts to alert consumers to possible fraud on their bank accounts or remind them of important medication refills, among other financial alerts or healthcare messages, are allowed without prior consent, but other types of financial or healthcare calls, such as marketing or debt collection calls, are not allowed under these limited and very specific exemptions.
- Consumers have the right to opt out from these permitted calls and texts at any time.
What to Do if You Experience Unwanted Robocalls and Robotexts
Ask to be on the company’s Do Not Call list, thus revoking your consent.
Make sure your number is registered with the Do Not Call Registry.
Find out about blocking services your telephone provider may offer.
Consult with attorneys who specialize in consumer protection.
For More Information About TCPA and Your Consumer Rights
If you believe a company has violated the rules of the TCPA call 877-735-8600 to talk to the attorneys at Francis Mailman Soumilas, P.C. about your rights. Founded in 1998, Francis Mailman Soumilas, P.C. specializes in consumer protection litigation; their goal is to provide exceptional advocacy to consumers subjected to unfair business, industry and trade practices.
For more information about consumer protection and how to use TCPA against any violators, read How to Use TCPA Against Any Company and Potentially Collect $500-$1,500 Per Violation.
Read the official FCC notice about the clarifications to the TCPA here.