New ‘robocall’ regs to hit Wednesday

New restrictions requiring businesses to get written permission before placing “robocalls” are set to take effect Wednesday, more than a year after the regulations were announced. 

The Federal Communications Commission rules, which previously allowed firms to make automated telemarketing calls with only oral consent, will now require “prior express written consent.”

The regulations, published in July of last year, widen the scope of potential class action lawsuits against violators of the 1991 Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

Revisions to the law taking effect Wednesday cover all autodialed and prerecorded calls to cellphones, and all prerecorded calls to landlines.

Written consent can be made via a Web-based form, an email or text message, according to the rule.

The FCC is also doing away with an exemption to the consent requirements that allowed telemarketers to place prerecorded calls to residential lines belonging to consumers “with whom the caller has an established business relationship.”

“Taken together, today’s actions offer consumers greater protection from intrusive telemarketing calls,” the FCC said upon introducing the regulations.

The more stringent requirements are designed to bring FCC regulations in line with the Federal Trade Commission’s rules. They include an exemption allowing healthcare-related agencies to place prerecorded calls in accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).