Last week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a new order that gives consumers additional protection against unwanted robocalls. We applaud the FCC for improving the rules in our industry. In fact, we already implemented these protections for our own customers years ago. Here are some highlights of the new regulation and what it may mean to you.
Highlights of the New Regulation
The primary focus of the new order is to restrict telemarketers’ use of automated telephone calls and bring the FCC’s regulations in alignment with the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) 2008 Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) regulations. Both agencies make clear distinctions between telemarketing calls and informational calls – telemarketing calls are broadly defined as any call designed to induce the sale of goods or services. Both the FTC and FCC regulations enacted two primary changes affecting telemarketing calls:
1) Telemarketing calls cannot be made without the explicit written permission of the person you are calling. Previously, an existing business relationship was sufficient consent to send automated phone messages.
2) All telemarketing calls must have, at the outset of the call, a mechanism for opting out during the call. For voicemails, a toll-free opt-out number must be provided.
The FTC’s 2008 ruling had already placed the written permission and opt-out requirements on telemarketers from most industries. However, there are a few significant exceptions that fall out of the FTC’s jurisdiction including banking, insurance, and intrastate telemarketing and a few others. We believe these industries are the culprit for most of the unwanted telemarketing calls that are still being made today, and that the FCC’s order will soon eliminate these calls.
What Does This Mean for You?
If you're a Call-Em-All customer, you're most likely using our service to make purely informational auto calls. We ran the numbers and found that over 95% of the automated calls we make each month fall in this category. With this ruling, the FCC has made it very clear that both they and the FTC have no intention to restrict informational group calls, even to cell phones. With cell phones and informational calls, the simple act of providing your number – even verbally – acknowledges consent to receive automated informational calls.
For the other 5% that make telemarketing calls, we've already helped you comply with the FTC’s TSR rules since they went into effect in 2008 and 2009. Not only do these rules make sense, we think that they're necessary to provide great service and that they are good for business. If you disagree with this, it’s likely that Call-Em-All isn’t going to be a good fit for you.
We appreciate that both the FTC and FCC have recognized that there are many cases where consumers really do want to receive robocalls. As we discussed with the New York Times, many consumers have such a negative connotation with the word robo-call that they don’t even consider that the “good” calls they receive are using the same technology. A great example is a snow-day call from a school.
Since our company began making calls in 2005, we have always been proactive and vigilant about making sure we are calling people who WANT to be called – even with informational calls. During every call we make, the recipient can opt out from receiving future calls. Additionally, every employee at Call-Em-All has the authority to reject a broadcast or deactivate a client if they feel their calls wouldn’t be welcome.
At Call-Em-All, we are very happy that the FCC has aligned their automated calling rules with those of the FTC. We look forward to providing a valuable, compliant and SPAM-free calling service for years to come.
If you have further questions please feel free to contact us anytime.