Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Communications Government The Courts United States News

FTC Rules Outlawing Robocalls Go Into Effect Next Week 277

coondoggie writes "Nearly a year after announcing the plan, new Federal Trade Commission rules prohibiting most robocalls are set to take effect Tuesday, Sept. 1. With the rules, prerecorded commercial telemarketing robocalls will be prohibited, unless the telemarketer has obtained permission in writing from consumers who want to receive such calls. Hopefully the rules will go a long way to helping consumers eat dinner in peace without being interrupted by amazingly annoying telemarketer blather or in this case prerecorded blather. The requirement is part of amendments to the agency's Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) that were announced a year ago. After September 1, sellers and telemarketers who transmit prerecorded messages to consumers who have not agreed in writing to accept such messages will face penalties of up to $16,000 per call."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

FTC Rules Outlawing Robocalls Go Into Effect Next Week

Comments Filter:
  • by Evan Charlton ( 1498823 ) <slash@evan c h> on Thursday August 27, 2009 @10:39PM (#29226351) Homepage
    No, they left that in. FTFA:

    However for those who have called on the FTC to help eliminate the other phone scourge - political robocalls - the new rules will not help. Calls from political campaigns are considered protected speech the FTC said. Ultimately consumers may get some help from state legislatures as many are regulating or looking to pass laws for more control over automated or robocall computer-generated phone-calling campaigns. One group, the National Political Do Not Contact Registry [] is campaigning to outlaw political robocalling altogether.

  • Fine print (Score:5, Informative)

    by RevWaldo ( 1186281 ) * on Thursday August 27, 2009 @10:57PM (#29226469)
    With the rules, prerecorded commercial telemarketing robocalls will be prohibited, unless the telemarketer has obtained permission in writing from consumers who want to receive such calls.


    You can expect the "permission" to be buried in the fine print of phone contracts, software licenses, and the like. And be sure to remember to uncheck that "share your information with third parties" box.
  • by MediaStreams ( 1461187 ) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @11:28PM (#29226687)

    "There's already a "Do not call" mechanism that's ignored"

    I haven't gotten a single call on my mail line since the day I put it on the Do Not Call List.

    Recently I got another number and couldn't figure out why I was suddenly getting unsolicited calls. Then I remembered the DNC List and once again haven't gotten a single unwanted call.

  • by mysteryvortex ( 854738 ) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @11:51PM (#29226785)

    This appears to me that it will weaken the existing prohibition against this practice by providing the "in writing" loophole. Calling without a real person on the other end was already illegal except in limited circumstances due to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) []

    (1) Prohibitions

                    It shall be unlawful for any person within the United States, or
            any person outside the United States if the recipient is within the
            United States--
                            (B) to initiate any telephone call to any residential
                    telephone line using an artificial or prerecorded voice to
                    deliver a message without the prior express consent of the
                    called party, unless the call is initiated for emergency
                    purposes or is exempted by rule or order by the Commission under
                    paragraph (2)(B);

    How much do you want to bet that consent to robo-calls will quickly be added to the boiler plate in all sorts of contracts as well as privacy policies and TOS notices.

    If it doesn't show up in everybody's mail box as part of a change to their credit cards' privacy policies, that might actually surprise me.


  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Friday August 28, 2009 @12:58AM (#29227137) Homepage Journal
    You can do that with asterisk, if you don't mind leaving an asterisk server running all the time. You can set up a full voice menu system and I've never seen a unsolicited commercial caller get through one even as simple as "Press 1 if this is an marketing call, otherwise press 2". Asterisk can also work with caller ID and you can install black or white lists, however you want to do it.

    It is kind of a pain in the ass to set up and you need some specialized hardware (FXO/FXS card or a SIP gateway such as the Linksis one you can get for $99) It's well worth it if you want to take control of your phone line, though.

  • Re:Won't matter (Score:2, Informative)

    by nulldaemon ( 926551 ) on Friday August 28, 2009 @01:00AM (#29227153)
    Well in Australia it's your responsibility that whomever you outsource your telemarketing to, whether they are located inside or outside Australia, do not call people on the DNC. It has to be in your contract with them or *you* will get hit with massive fines.
  • Re:Won't matter (Score:4, Informative)

    by EdIII ( 1114411 ) * on Friday August 28, 2009 @02:13AM (#29227529)

    Not true. The real problem is that enough people don't complain and their is a level of apathy involved.

    The FCC and Attorney Generals go after the companies providing the products being sold (more specifically those who profit) and not the call centers. When you get one of these calls you need to listen to them. Ask them questions about their products. What is the name of the product? It's manufacturer? Try to get some information.

    Information is the real weapon. Once you call the FCC to complain you will be able to provide them with what they need to successfully identify the company and levy fines against them.

    There is no getting around the DNC regardless of the location. It's just that not enough people are cooperating with the FCC to hurt them enough.

  • Re:Won't matter (Score:3, Informative)

    by codeguy007 ( 179016 ) on Friday August 28, 2009 @03:39AM (#29227919)

    The product name and manufacturer's name are not necessarily the information they need. Most manufacturer's don't distribute their products themselves so it won't be them hiring the telemarketers. Now they should have a list of distributors for the FCC to investigate. Also the companies can be just importing the stuff. Now you could block that company from importing but they would just start another.

    It's a no win battle as long as consumers continue to buy from telemarkers and spammers. They wouldn't do it if there was no money involved.

    So the real problem isn't consumer apathy but consumer purchasing.

  • by MadUndergrad ( 950779 ) on Friday August 28, 2009 @04:17AM (#29228063)

    Your attitude just encourages joe-jobbing though. I think there was some of that in this last election, with robocallers calling people 10 times in a night, claiming to be for Obama.

  • by Jbcarpen ( 883850 ) on Friday August 28, 2009 @04:27AM (#29228113)

    And I for a while I was getting 8-9 a day claiming to be from McCain, all at odd hours, on my cellphone. Both sides were doing it.

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Friday August 28, 2009 @04:39AM (#29228181)

    What will happen is that the bank which issued your credit car will eat the charge and you will never hear anything more of it. In fact, even if they do track down the perps, they won't share the information with you. They tend to be really tight-lipped about anything like that.

  • Re:Won't matter (Score:4, Informative)

    by digitalchinky ( 650880 ) on Friday August 28, 2009 @06:00AM (#29228527)

    I'd be almost positive those calls are not originating from the US.

    I'm Australian, I live in the Philippines. Everyone here speaks with a US accent from birth (when they speak English anyway, or is that American?). There are quite a multitude of call centers throughout the country that are devoted entirely to spamming various parts of the world. They are fully legal, earn the local economy quite a big chunk of profit so there is no government incentive to get rid of them. The locals don't just spam via telephone, there are also forum spammers for hire, along with any other method you can think of to get your message 'out there'. If there is money to be made, someone here will do it.

    Oddly enough there are virtually no telemarketing calls to annoy us locally, no junk mail in the letterbox, and very little domestic spam through email.

  • by greed ( 112493 ) on Friday August 28, 2009 @11:55AM (#29231885)

    They enabled "disconnect on hangup" on your line. If you have a burglar alarm installed that uses your phone line, the alarm company will arrange for the same feature.

    Traditionally, POTS lines aren't disconnected until both sides go on-hook. With disconnect on hangup, the line is disconnected when one side goes on-hook, though it may take up to 10 seconds.

  • by Nerdposeur ( 910128 ) on Friday August 28, 2009 @03:39PM (#29235077) Journal

    I'm glad you mentioned range voting. I Googled it and found this site: []

    This, to me, is the single dumbest thing about our democracy: that our current voting system makes you vote for who you can tolerate and think can win, as opposed to who you actually like.

    I encourage everyone to visit the link above to read about a better voting system.

"I'm not afraid of dying, I just don't want to be there when it happens." -- Woody Allen