Just last year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) received over 200,000 reports regarding “robo” voice calls and SMS text messages, the largest category of complaints. The FCC still receives thousands of complaints each month.
In response, the FCC recently released new updates to its Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The purpose of this update is to sort out any loopholes and strengthen consumer defenses against unwanted voice calls and SMS text messages.
Below is a highlight of some of the new provisions:
1. Call-blocking technology now allowed
Service providers can now offer market-based solutions to consumers for the purpose of blocking “robo” voice calls on their landline or mobile phone.
2. Consumers are more empowered
Voice call and SMS text messaging recipients have the right to stop automated messages in any reasonable way at any time, even if they had consented previously.
3. Clarification on Internet-to-Phone SMS text messages
SMS text messages generated from the internet are considered to be from an “auto-dialer”, meaning consent must be given before messages are sent.
4. Regenerated phone numbers aren’t loopholes
Phone numbers that have been reassigned to a new person, such as a through a mobile carrier, can only be called once.
All previous TCPA stipulations are still in effect, including the requirement for businesses to obtain explicit consent before calling or texting.You May Be Exempt!
There are specific exemptions from these new TCPA updates. Financial institutions and medical providers sending alerts or reminders are exempt, but marketing-related or collection calls are not.
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To read more of the FCC’s press release, click here.