Last week, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued final approval of the new telemarketing rules adopted by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in February 2012. As a result of the OMB's approval, the FCC can begin enforcement of the new telemarketing rules as follows:

  • November 15, 2012:
    • By this date all telemarketers must have abandonment rates of less than 3 percent of all calls answered by a live person. (47 CFR § 64.1200(a)(7))
  • January 14, 2013:
    • For all prerecorded telemarketing calls, callers must provide an automated, interactive voice- and/or keypress-activated, opt-out mechanism for the called person to make a do-not-call request, including brief explanatory instructions on how to use such a mechanism, within two seconds of providing the identification of the business responsible for the call. (47 CFR § 64.1200(b)(3))
  • October 16, 2013:
    • For all telemarketing calls to mobile numbers, telemarketers must obtain prior express written consent from the called party (47 CFR § 64.1200(a)(2));
    • For all telemarketing calls to residential numbers, telemarketers must obtain prior express written consent from the called party before initiating a call using a pre-recorded or artificial voice. (47 CFR § 64.1200(a)(3))  

FCC Seeks Comments on Telemarketing Practices

The FCC is seeking comment on three petitions requesting that the commission revise or clarify its telemarketing rules governing the use of automatic telephone dialing systems, prerecorded messages and consumer consent obligations. Specifically, the FCC is seeking comment on:

  • A Petition for Declaratory Ruling, filed by Communications Innovators, that asks the commission to clarify that predictive dialers that are not used for telemarketing purposes and that do not have the current ability to generate and dial numbers are not "automatic telephone dialing systems" under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and FCC rules.
  • A Request for Clarification, filed by CallAssistant, LLC, regarding the application of the TCPA and how it relates to the use of operator-supervised, prerecorded call segments.
  • A Petition for Expedited Declaratory Ruling, filed by the Cargo Airline Association, requesting a ruling that package delivery companies can rely upon representations from senders that the package recipient consents to receiving autodialed and prerecorded calls to wireless phone numbers to notify them about the delivery of a package.

Comments on all three petitions are due November 15. Reply comments are due November 30. The requests for comment continue similar proceedings initiated by the FCC in late September 2012 to address petitions for reconsideration of the new telemarketing rules adopted in February 2012.

FCC Creates Do-Not-Call List for 911 Call Centers

Last week, the FCC voted to establish a specialized Do-Not-Call Registry for public safety answering points (PSAPs). Rules adopted by the FCC:

  • Allow PSAPs to upload any number associated with the provision of emergency services or communications with other public safety agencies onto a specialized Do-Not-Call Registry.
  • Prohibit operators of robocalling equipment (autodialers) from using such equipment to contact any number on the registry except for an emergency purpose.
  • Adopt specific monetary penalties for contacting or disclosing numbers contained in the PSAP registry.

Violations of the prohibition on robocalling numbers on the registry will result in monetary penalties that are not less than US$10,000 per call or text nor more than US$100,000 per call or text. Before the rules can become effective, the FCC will need to establish the technical details of the specialized Do-Not-Call Registry and obtain the OMB's approval of rules.