New Rule Prohibiting Unwanted "Robocalls" to Take Effect on September 1

15 replies
Just saw this 8/27/2009 Press Release. Potential $16K/Call fine...

"Telemarketers Must Obtain Prior Written Approval from Consumers Who Want to Receive Such Calls

Beginning September 1, 2009, prerecorded commercial telemarketing calls to consumers - commonly known as robocalls - will be prohibited, unless the telemarketer has obtained permission in writing from consumers who want to receive such calls, the Federal Trade Commission announced today.

"American consumers have made it crystal clear that few things annoy them more than the billions of commercial telemarketing robocalls they receive every year," said Jon Leibowitz, Chairman of the FTC. "Starting September 1, this bombardment of prerecorded pitches, senseless solicitations, and malicious marketing will be illegal. If consumers think they're being harassed by robocallers, they need to let us know, and we will go after them."

The new requirement is part of amendments to the agency's Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) that were announced a year ago. After September 1, sellers and telemarketers who transmit prerecorded messages to consumers who have not agreed in writing to accept such messages will face penalties of up to $16,000 per call.

The rule amendments going into effect on September 1 do not prohibit calls that deliver purely "informational" recorded messages - those that notify recipients, for example, that their flight has been cancelled, an appliance they ordered will be delivered at a certain time, or that their child's school opening is delayed. Such calls are not covered by the TSR, as long as they do not attempt to interest consumers in the sale of any goods or services. For the same reason, the rule amendments also do not apply to calls concerning collection of debts where the calls do not seek to promote the sale of any goods or services.

In addition, calls not covered by the TSR - including those from politicians, banks, telephone carriers, and most charitable organizations - are not covered by the new prohibition. The new prohibition on prerecorded messages does not apply to certain healthcare messages. The new rule prohibits telemarketing robocalls to consumers whether or not they previously have done business with the seller.

Under a previous rule that took effect on December 1, 2008, telemarketing robocall messages by businesses covered by the TSR must tell consumers how to opt-out of further calls at the start of the message, and provide an automated opt-out mechanism that is voice or keypress-activated. Prerecorded messages left on answering machines must also provide a toll-free number that connects to the automated opt-out mechanism.

After September 1, consumers who receive prerecorded telemarketing calls but have not agreed to get them should file a complaint with the Commission, either on the ftc.gov Web site or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP.

The Commission's 2008 press release announcing the changes to the TSR's prerecorded telemarketing provisions and a link to the related Federal Register notice can be found on the FTC's Web site at: FTC Issues Final Telemarketing Sales Rule Amendments Regarding Prerecorded Calls

Original release additional documents and video:
New Rule Prohibiting Unwanted "Robocalls" to Take Effect on September 1
#effect #prohibiting #robocalls #rule #september #unwanted
  • Profile picture of the author mbrown
    You always find the good stuff like this. It's extremely important people keep up to date on this sort of subject. Thank you for sharing this can save someone....
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    • Profile picture of the author psresearch
      I just noticed the phrase "senseless solicitations" in there. Somehow I find that to be a fairly hilarious phrase.

      What are "senseless solicitations"?

      And what is "malicious marketing"?

      Is that somewhere between BHat and fraud?

      LOL.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jeff_Gardner
    I find it interesting how the politicians who passed this law exempted themselves from the robocall rules.

    FTC Bans Marketing Robocalls Except for Politicians and Their Dear Friends - Robocalls - Gizmodo

    They hack away at businesses... but exempt themselves.
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  • Profile picture of the author Patrician
    I hope it has more effect than the 'Do Not Call List' - while that does help cut down on telemarketing calls, it is surprising how many don't obey the law. I keep a list.

    I really like the concept of ETHICAL 'permission-based' marketing - (opt-in) -

    'don't call me, i'll call you'...
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    • Profile picture of the author Pete Egeler
      I agree with the idea, but the exemptions blow my mind!

      "In addition, calls not covered by the TSR - including those from politicians, banks, telephone carriers, and most charitable organizations - are not covered by the new prohibition. The new prohibition on prerecorded messages does not apply to certain healthcare messages."

      I don't need ANY calls from politicians, banks, phone carriers OR charitable organizations at any time.

      These announcements always look good on the surface ("great headline") but when you get to digging deeper, they're pretty useless.

      Pete
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      • Profile picture of the author psresearch
        Originally Posted by Pete Egeler View Post

        I agree with the idea, but the exemptions blow my mind!

        "In addition, calls not covered by the TSR - including those from politicians, banks, telephone carriers, and most charitable organizations - are not covered by the new prohibition. The new prohibition on prerecorded messages does not apply to certain healthcare messages."

        I don't need ANY calls from politicians, banks, phone carriers OR charitable organizations at any time.

        Pete
        Yeh, wait a minute...wouldn't calls from politicians fall under "senseless solicitations"?
        LOL.
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        • Profile picture of the author Kirk Ward
          Didn't see where anyone has mentioned the fine for violating the law.

          $16,000 per call.

          I figure if I was doing it, I would be broke after ony 1,000 calls. LOL

          Don't it just warm your heart?

          Cheers!
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    • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
      Originally Posted by Patrician View Post

      I hope it has more effect than the 'Do Not Call List' - while that does help cut down on telemarketing calls, it is surprising how many don't obey the law. I keep a list.
      I simply can't count the number of people I've called who say they're on the DNC registry and aren't. I scratch my head, look at the number, then check the list to see if I missed something. Nope... not there.

      Later, I decided it wasn't worth it to market directly to consumers, so I switched to a B2B sales model. And you don't need the DNC registry if you only market to businesses; businesses aren't allowed to be on the DNC registry. Ever. Under any circumstances. But you call up the number on your business list, and yes this is ABC Systems, and yes this is Alan, and WTF are you calling me for you *******?! I'm on the DNC registry!

      But what do you say? Do you say "I'm looking at the DNC registry right now and you're not on it," or "actually it's a violation of federal law to put a business on the DNC registry," or something of that nature? What do you expect will happen?

      "Oh! Terribly sorry, old bean - I did not realise that. What was it you wanted again?"

      Nope! You'd get a stream of profanity and abuse, and they'd demand you remove them from your list, and they'd hang up on you, and they'd be a lot more likely to report that you've no respect for the law... and when people ask questions, you have to prove that what you did was legal.

      So you just say "I'll take you off our list," hang up, and do exactly that... knowing the whole time that it's just a little more evidence of the simple incompetence of the average American.

      Now, of course, you actually are on the list and don't use your home phone as your business phone - right? You couldn't possibly be one of those people, right?

      But are you absolutely sure?
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  • Profile picture of the author rosan9
    Good maybe Tellman will quit calling now.

    Actually the number he kept calling was changed and I never told him, so there.
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  • Profile picture of the author Scot Standke
    Not only are politicians exempt from this new "law", but apparently they can also send unsolicited spam to help promote their agendas.

    Case in point last week, they were caught sending millions of spam emails trying to sway voters on the controversial Health Care Bill. When called out on it by Fox News, they blamed it on a third party vendor.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but why would a third party vendor send spam for anyone if they were not getting paid for it and instructed to do so?

    Scot
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  • Profile picture of the author Jay Truman
    this rule only protects consumers. businesses can still receive robocalls.
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  • Profile picture of the author CocoChanelle
    Hopefully this will reduce the number of calls I get for cash gifting scams. I don't know how the heck I got on that list. I received one this morning.
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  • Profile picture of the author Frank Bruno
    Great new law for phone spam. If only we can get more stringent laws passed for Internet spam.

    Frank Bruno
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  • Profile picture of the author PCRoger
    Of course, if you have a credit card from anyone, they have permission to call you (which they will often) and pass along your info to anyone they are "affiliated" with, which, of course, is EVERYONE.

    PCRoger.
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    • Profile picture of the author rosan9
      Originally Posted by PCRoger View Post

      Of course, if you have a credit card from anyone, they have permission to call you (which they will often) and pass along your info to anyone they are "affiliated" with, which, of course, is EVERYONE.

      PCRoger.
      That explains it...the credit card companies are the source of all our phone spam. I knew it.
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