Madigan Lauds FCC Crackdown on Robocalls

Federal Communications Commission said Wednesday that it will now require telemarketers to obtain written consent from people before placing a robocall

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Federal Communications Commission said Wednesday that it will now require telemarketers to obtain written consent from people before placing a robocall. (Published Wednesday, Feb 15, 2012)

    The state's top attorney is lauding a government crackdown on the "robocalls" that seem to have a tendency to interrupt dinner.

    "There are so many people who are just sick and tired of calls both to their cellphones but in particular to their landlines, and the new rule is going to prevent robocalls, automatic calls, going to your cellphone as well as your landline," Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said Wednesday.

    The Federal Communications Commission said Wednesday that it will now require telemarketers to obtain written consent from people before placing a robocall. Written does not mean handwritten, though -- electronic forms are OK.

    The new rules also eliminate a loophole that allowed telemarketers to place robocalls if they had an "established business relationship" with the consumer. Now, they will have to obtain consent even if they had previously done business with the person they want to call.

    Telemarketers will also have to provide an automated way for people to revoke their consent to the robocall by pressing a few keys on their phone during the call. If this happens, the new rules require telemarketer to add the person to the company's do not call list.

    Chicago's Citizens Utility Board said the move will also be a good one for the telemarketers.

    "From the telemarketer's standpoint, it's less phone calls they have to make, it's less people who you're pitching who are never going to say yes," said CUB spokesman Patrick Deignan.

    The FCC said it is not changing rules that apply to informational robocalls, such as airline flight updates, school notifications or warnings about suspicious bank account activity.

    The FCC and the Federal Trade Commission already had rules aimed at preventing unwanted marketing calls. But the FCC said despite this, "too many telemarketers, aided by autodialers and prerecorded messages, have continued to call consumers who don't want to hear from them."