On June 18, 2015, the FCC adopted stronger consumer protections against robocalls and spam texts. The new regulations are a response to hundreds of thousands of consumer complaints about robocalls. The new rules under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act make it easier for customers to revoke consent and harder for companies and marketers to call or text consumers to sell products.
While the FCC declaratory ruling is not yet available, the FCC has published a fact sheet and press release outlining some of the details of the anticipated ruling. Highlights include:
- Consumers can revoke consent to receive robocalls at any time in any reasonable way.
- Where a phone number has been reassigned, companies may call the new holder of the number only once before risking penalties. The “one call rule” applies to wireless service and wireline service.
- The new regulations apply to text messages.
- 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. Any company that contacts such a consumer is at risk of violating the new regulations.
- Telephone companies and other service providers can offer robocall blocking technology.
- Free calls and text messages to alert customers of some types of possible fraud and for valid medical reasons will be allowed without prior consent, subject to limitations that will be outlined in the ruling. Even for these calls, however, consumers can opt out of being contacted.
The ruling will not affect a number of existing provisions. The Do-Not-Call Registry remains in effect. Marketing callers still need prior express consent for autodialed, prerecorded, or artificial voice calls to wireless phones and prerecorded telemarketing calls to residential wireline customers. Political calls to wireless phones continue to be subject to general restrictions on prerecorded and artificial voice calls and autodialed calls.
Dorsey stands ready to advise companies on the new regulations and will provide further information as it becomes available. If you have any further questions, please contact: