[By Sudarshana Banerjee]

Telemarketers will now have to get that consumer’s written consent, which may be electronic, says Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Julius Genachowski, before they can call her. Telemarketers will also no longer be able to robocall a consumer simply because she has previously done business with that telemarketer, written consent will be necessary for all telemarketing robocalls.

That is not all. As per new FCC rules, each and every telemarketing robocall will have to include an automated, interactive opt-out mechanism, so that a consumer can revoke consent by pressing just a few keys during the call.  The telemarketer will have to automatically add the consumer to the company’s do-not-call list and immediately disconnect the call.

Every single telemarketing campaign will also have to comply with strict limits on the ‘dead-air’ telemarketing calls. The dead air calls are calls when your phone is ringing, but there seems to be no one at the other end, when you answer.

Julius Genachowski (Chairman, FCC): At the same time that we help consumers avoid unwanted robocalls, we do so in a manner that is minimally burdensome to businesses, including small businesses.

Rules for robocalls that are informational and that consumers may have come to rely on, remain unchanged. These include automated calls that update consumers on airline flights, provide school notifications, or even warn them about fraudulent activity in their bank accounts.

The new rules apply to the implementation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991.

[Image Courtesy: FCC]