FCC announces plan to block robocalls, spam text messages

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Date: Friday, June 19th, 2015, 08:26
Category: Legal, News, wireless


Maybe the FCC can help put an end to robocalls and spam text messages.

In recent days, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said that the agency is working on a new rule that would allow consumers to block robocalls and automated text messages if requested. The move clarifies the agency’s interpretation of a 1991 consumer protection law that banned telemarketers from making cold calls to consumers. Companies have skirted that ban by using automated dialing machines, prerecorded calls and text messages. The new rule makes it clear that texts are the same as phone calls, and that phone carriers may block robocalls to consumers if asked.

The rule also expands consumers’ ability to opt out of a marketer’s calls.

Under the existing rules, telemarketers need consent before targeting consumers’ wireless phones for nonemergency calls that are autodialed or prerecorded. They also need consent before targeting landline customers with prerecorded telemarketing calls.

The new rule would require companies to allow consumers to revoke that consent more easily than they can now. Also, if a number has changed hands, companies only get one chance to stop calling the new user before facing penalties.

The rule still allows for some exceptions, such as for health-care providers and banks to alert consumers to possible fraud in their bank accounts, or remind them of important medication refills without their prior consent. Other types of financial and health-care calls, such as marketing or debt collection, aren’t allowed under those narrow exemptions.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Via the Wall Street Journal

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