WASHINGTON Feb 15 Telemarketers will have
to get written consent before placing automated calls to
consumers under new rules U.S. communications regulators voted
to adopt on Wednesday.
The Federal Communications Commission will enforce stricter
rules on so-called telemarketing "robocalls," mandating that
these autodialed or prerecorded calls can only be placed to
consumers who have already agreed in writing to receive them.
Companies will no longer be able to point to an established
business relationship with a consumer to justify the automated
"Consumers have complained to us by the thousands about
annoying robocalls," said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski during
the agency's monthly open meeting.
Robocalls made by charities and political campaigns and
providing information like school closings, flight changes and
prescription refill reminders will not be affected by the new
The vote cracks down on telemarketers for banks, insurance
agents, phone companies and others who used loopholes in the law
that established the Federal Trade Commission's Do Not Call
Registry to continue to automatically dial consumers.
"The order we adopt today will require written opt-in, and
it will make it easy for consumers to opt out. We're closing
loopholes that have allowed robocallers to sneak through,"
The FCC said the calls invade consumers' privacy. The agency
added that the calls often cut into wireless customers' minutes
as more consumers rely solely on wireless services and do not
All robocalls will also have to include an automated opt-out
option to allow consumers to immediately notify telemarketers
that they no longer want to receive these calls.
The FCC also voted to require Voice over Internet Protocol
services, or VoIP, to report network outages that affect 911
The reporting requirements are already in place for
traditional carriers, and the vote extends them to the nearly
one-third of residential telephone subscriptions provided
through VoIP services like those of Vonage Holding Corp.