Thursday, February 16, 2012

New FCC Telemarketing Rules

On Wednesday, the FCC issued Report and Order FCC 12-21: In the Matter of Rules and Regulations Implementing the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991. According to the FCC,
The Order adopted today helps put an end to these intrusions by empowering consumers with increased rights under the FCC’s telemarketing rules.  The new rules reduce regulatory uncertainty with minimal burden on industry and maximize consistency with those of the Federal Trade Commission.  Specifically, the rules protect consumers by:
  • Requiring telemarketers to obtain prior express written consent from them, including by electronic means such as a website form, before placing a robocall to a consumer;         
  • Eliminating the “established business relationship” exemption to the requirement that telemarketing robocalls to residential wireline phones occur only with prior express consent from the consumer; 
  • Requiring telemarketers to provide an automated, interactive “opt-out” mechanism during each robocall so that consumers can immediately tell the telemarketer to stop calling; and, 
  • Strictly limiting the number of abandoned or “dead air” calls that telemarketers can make within each calling campaign.
The provisions of the new rules take effect over the next year. For specific information on effective dates, see paragraph 66 of the order.