Consumers can expect to receive far fewer pre-recorded phone calls (frequently referred to as “robo-calls”) and automated text messages in the near future, due to new rules that are expected to be approved shortly by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Right now, people can block calls from most telemarketers by getting their phone number put on the do-not-call list. However, companies are currently permitted to call anybody that they have a business relationship with, even if the call does not pertain to that specific relationship. As a result, many consumers find that they frequently receive automated calls from their bank or credit card company trying to get them to sign up for an extra service.
The new FCC rules will effectively block calls that are pre-recorded by requiring telemarketers to obtain written permission from consumers before making automated calls to them. The rules will also help to block calls made to cell phones since written consent will also be required before companies can send a text or make any type of call (be it human or robo-call) to a wireless device. Furthermore, all robo-calls must offer an opt-out feature that allows people to inform the company (by pressing a designated number on the keypad, for instance) that they no longer wish to receive automated calls.
The FCC’s new rules helping consumers to block calls that they don’t wish to receive will close some loopholes left open by the Federal Trade Commission’s rules, which have been in effect since 2008. Most consumers are likely to see a decrease in unwanted sales calls once the rules go into effect.