New TCPA Rules For Prerecorded Calls To Landlines Take Effect July 20
As anyone with a landline telephone during election season could guess, there have historically been no opt-in or Do Not Call (DNC) requirements applicable to non-telemarketing/informational prerecorded calls to landline telephone numbers. However, in 2019, Congress directed the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reconsider this “exemption” for such calls. After some initial challenges, the changes to the rules are set to take effect soon.
Relevant to political/non-commercial calls, the FCC limited the number of exempted calls (i.e., calls without consent) that can be made to a residential line to three artificial or prerecorded voice calls within any consecutive 30-day period.
The amended rules also require that residential telephone subscribers be permitted to “opt out” of artificial and prerecorded voice calls made in accordance with to these exemptions. Under these rules, a consumer who wants to avoid further artificial or prerecorded voice calls can opt out by either (1) dialing a telephone number (required to be provided in the artificial or prerecorded voice message) to register their DNC request in response to that call, or (2) the rules also require that the caller must provide an automated, interactive voice- and/or key press-activated opt-out mechanism for the called person to make a DNC request during the call.
Additionally, “[w]hen the artificial or prerecorded voice . . . message is left on an answering machine or a voice mail service, such message must also provide a toll free number that enables the called person to call back at a later time and connect directly to the automated, interactive voice- and/or key press-activated opt-out mechanism and automatically record the called person's number” to the calling party’s DNC list. Organizations relying on this circumscribed exemption will also need to comply with the entity-specific DNC rules, which generally require the maintenance of a written DNC policy, available on demand, and training relevant personnel on properly handling DNC requests.
Though these new rules apply to unsolicited prerecorded calls to landlines, live (even autodialed) calls to landlines will not be subject to these requirements. Informational, non-autodialed live calls or texts to cell phones similarly fall outside the TCPA.
If you have any questions on how these rule changes could impact your calling campaigns, please contact Adam Bowser or the ArentFox Schiff attorney who handles your matters.
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