Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations requiring businesses to obtain written permission from recipients prior to placing “robocalls” take effect today, October 16, 2013, more than a year after the regulations were announced. The new rules, which previously allowed firms to make automated telemarketing calls with only oral consent, will now require “prior express written consent.”
The regulations, published in July of last year, widen the scope of potential class action lawsuits against violators of the 1991 Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Revisions to the law taking effect Wednesday cover all autodialed and prerecorded calls to cellphones, and all prerecorded calls to landlines. Written consent can be made via a Web-based form, an email or text message, according to the rule.
Importantly, the FCC is also doing away with an exemption to the consent requirements that allowed telemarketers to place prerecorded calls to residential lines belonging to consumers with whom the caller has an established business relationship.
The more stringent requirements are designed to bring FCC regulations in line with the Federal Trade Commission’s rules. They include an exemption allowing healthcare-related agencies to place prerecorded calls in accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).
If you have any questions or concerns regarding this Advisory, please contact the attorney responsible for your account.