FTC to set restrictions on telemarketing ‘robocalls'

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Washington, D.C.—The Federal Trade Commission is singling out telemarketing “robocalls” with a near-total ban, unless the recipient has agreed to receive the calls. The new ban, which goes into effect tomorrow, will impose penalties of up to $16,000 per call for violations.

A wide variety of noncommercial automated phone calls outside the purview of the FTC, or which are deemed protected free speech, would not be affected by the ruling, including such automated phone notifications as flight cancellations, delivery alerts and medical prescription notifications, as well as calls from debt collectors, politicians, charities, phone companies and survey-takers.

The new ban is part of amendments to the FTC's Telemarketing Sales Rule. Previously recipients had to list their phone numbers with the National Do Not Call Registry in order to block live and prerecorded telemarketing calls.

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