News & Resources

FCC closes telemarketing 'loophole'

Feb 21, 2012 Mike Garretson

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently issued a strict clampdown on telemarketers by giving consumers more control over who can call them, the Los Angeles Times reports. Existing attempts by the FCC to control telemarketing robo-calls - specifically, the national Do Not Call Registry - weren't enough to sufficiently protect consumer privacy, as many people received unwanted calls at home or their place of employment. The FCC's latest "sweeping" effort will severely hamper telemarketers' sometimes questionable tactics for contacting individuals. "This is an important step forward to make it easier for consumers to take advantage of the Do Not Call list," Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the nonprofit Electronic Privacy Information Center, told the news source. "These are additional safeguards to provide consumers greater protection." Under the new rules, telemarketers will now be required to obtain written consent (or online approval) prior to placing an autodialed call. They must also insert an opt-out mechanism during the call so consumers can tell them to stop calling. What's more, robo-calls can no longer be placed to landline phone numbers that previously had associations with telemarketers and the number of "dead-air" calls - when consumers receive a call but hear nothing - have been reduced. Texting has also been affected, as registering on the Do Not Call list didn't cover text messages, CBS Boston adds.