On January 22, 2010, the FCC issued an NPRM that proposes revisions to its rules under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The proposals would require sellers and telemarketers to obtain written consent from recipients before making prerecorded telemarketing calls, commonly referred to as "robocalls," even when the caller has an established business relationship with the consumer. Additionally, the FCC proposes to make it easier to opt out of receiving robocalls. A copy of the NPRM is available here.

Key revisions proposed by the FCC include:

  • Requiring sellers and telemarketers to obtain telephone subscribers' express written consent (including electronic methods of consent) to receive prerecorded telemarketing calls, even when there exists an established business relationship between the caller and the consumer;
  • Requiring that prerecorded telemarketing calls include an automated, interactive mechanism by which a consumer may "opt out" of receiving future prerecorded messages from a seller or telemarketer; and,
  • Exempting certain federally regulated health care-related calls from the general prohibition on prerecorded telemarketing calls to residential telephone lines. (These calls are currently not specifically exempted from the prerecorded message rules.)

Initial comments are due within 60 days following the NPRM's publication in the Federal Register. Reply comments are due 90 days following Federal Register publication.