FCC Now Requires Written Consent on Consumer ‘Robocalls’

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In the News

Robot calls, commonly called ‘robocalls,’ are computer operated calls made to thousands of homes for the purpose of making a sales pitch for some type of product, making a survey, addressing politician’s concerns, or solicitations for nonprofit organizations. Consumer retail business, by far, is the largest user of robot calls, and most of these calls come to the consumer at some of the most inconvenient times without permission from the consumer. In effect, they are often a nuisance to most consumers.

As of today and according to an abc news report, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has cracked down on the robot call by requiring companies soliciting business for consumer sales to get your expressed, written consent before they use robot calls or text you.

The Problem with the FCC Crack Down

Unfortunately, the FCC will not be the explicit one necessarily policing any violations made by companies. You, as the consumer, will have to report any violations to the FCC. Unlike in times past where there has been little done for violations of the federal “national do not call registry,” the FCC is trying to put some teeth in the federal ordinance.

Technically, the companies using the robot calls are suppose to give you the opportunity to opt out of any future robot calls within the first few seconds of the call. Even in a perfect world where every company will do like they are suppose to, you can still receive as many one time calls as there are different companies. What happens, though, when a company just flat out violates the spirit of the new rules?

If you are registered with the “national do not call registry,” the FCC will handle your complaint and enforce the new rules, but if you have not registered, the only recourse you have to fight a violation, according to the FCC changes, is to sue the company within the jurisdiction of your state laws.

You have to re-register every five years to make sure you comply with federal law. That is a particular problem for seniors who might forget to re-register and a violation occurs. They, or people like them, will most likely be forced with having to file in state court for satisfaction, something most of them will not be able to afford to do.

If you have to take a risk by filing your complaint in state court, unlike in the past, you will now have the FCC new rules on your side. The risk you will be taking on filing in state court is paying for the cost of the lawsuit until you have proven your case. There is always a possibility you cannot prove your case in a state that is more pro business.

The Solution

The FCC, in this writer’s opinion, should revisit the new rules to plug these obvious loopholes. If the FCC refuses to truly include all consumers like seniors, the only other protection is for consumers still capable to make their telephone numbers less obtainable. How you do that in this computerized world in which we now all live is still a mystery.

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