Gov't addresses 'robocall' annoyance with new ban

Aug 27, 2009 By DEBORAH YAO , AP Business Writer

(AP) -- Americans tired of having their dinners interrupted by phone calls touting car warranties or vacation packages will soon get some relief.

The said Thursday it is banning many types of prerecorded telemarketing solicitations, known as robocalls. Currently, must specifically join a do-not-call list to avoid them. Starting Sept. 1, telemarketers will first need written permission from the customer to make such calls.

"American consumers have made it crystal clear that few things annoy them more than the billions of commercial telemarketing robocalls they receive every year," said Jon Leibowitz, chairman of the FTC.

Violators will face penalties of up to $16,000 per call.

Don't expect phone solicitations to disappear completely, though.

Calls that are not trying to sell goods and services to consumers will be exempt, such as those that provide information like flight cancellations and delivery notices and those from debt collectors.

Other calls not covered include those from politicians, charities that contact consumers directly, banks, insurers, phone companies, surveys and certain health care messages such as prescription notifications. The FTC said those don't fall under its jurisdiction.

And calls made by humans rather than automated systems will still be allowed, unless the phone number is on the National Do Not Call Registry.

But the FTC said the ban should cover most robocalls, forcing marketers to turn to more expensive live calls, or ramp up efforts in direct mail, e-mail and TV ads.

The ban is part of amendments to the FTC's Telemarketing Sales Rule announced a year ago.

Because the ban has been known, telemarketers already have been phasing out robocalls, said Tim Searcy, chief executive of the American Teleservices Association, a trade group whose members include telemarketers.

He said the public won't see much of a change.

"For the consumer, the behavior is going to look the same Sept. 1 as it did Aug. 31," he said.

Searcy also said the ban will do little to stop calls touting illegal scams.

People who get an unauthorized call can file complaints with the commission online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP.

"If consumers think they're being harassed by robocallers, they need to let us know, and we will go after them," Leibowitz said.

---

On the Net:

Complaint form: www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov
Do Not Call registry: www.donotcall.gov

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further: Hand out money with my mobile? I think I'm ready

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Let freedom ring with Google Voice

Aug 05, 2009

With the exception of touch-tone phones, Caller ID and cell phones, talking on the phone hasn't changed a lot during the past few decades. That's a big reason why people are increasingly choosing to text, ...

FTC shuts allegedly rogue Internet provider

Jun 05, 2009

(AP) -- The federal government has severed the Internet connection of a company accused of helping criminals serve up a "witches' brew" of nasty content online, from computer viruses to child pornography.

Opposition grows to U.S. phone-tax hike

Dec 06, 2005

A Washington group battling a proposed hike in the Universal Service Fund telephone tax says complaints from irate citizens are pouring into the capital.

Phishers Use Call Forwarding to Mask Fraud

Apr 28, 2007

A phishing attack uncovered by SecureWorks tries to entice victims into forwarding their telephone calls in order to thwart out-of-band authentication by banks.

Mobile Spam Volume Doubles to Forty-Three Percent

Mar 01, 2005

According to Wireless Services Corporation, 43 percent of all mobile phone text messages in the United States are now spam, compared to just 18 percent a year ago. In 2004 this amounted to over 1.2 billion messages blocked ...

Recommended for you

Hand out money with my mobile? I think I'm ready

Apr 17, 2014

A service is soon to launch in the UK that will enable us to transfer money to other people using just their name and mobile number. Paym is being hailed as a revolution in banking because you can pay peopl ...

Quantenna promises 10-gigabit Wi-Fi by next year

Apr 16, 2014

(Phys.org) —Quantenna Communications has announced that it has plans for releasing a chipset that will be capable of delivering 10Gbps WiFi to/from routers, bridges and computers by sometime next year. ...

Tech giants look to skies to spread Internet

Apr 16, 2014

The shortest path to the Internet for some remote corners of the world may be through the skies. That is the message from US tech giants seeking to spread the online gospel to hard-to-reach regions.

Wireless industry makes anti-theft commitment

Apr 16, 2014

A trade group for wireless providers said Tuesday that the biggest mobile device manufacturers and carriers will soon put anti-theft tools on the gadgets to try to deter rampant smartphone theft.

Dish Network denies wrongdoing in $2M settlement

Apr 15, 2014

The state attorney general's office says Dish Network Corp. will reimburse Washington state customers about $2 million for what it calls a deceptive surcharge, but the satellite TV provider denies any wrongdoing.

Netflix's Comcast deal improves quality of video

Apr 14, 2014

Netflix's videos are streaming through Comcast's Internet service at their highest speeds in the past 17 months now that Netflix is paying for a more direct connection to Comcast's network.

User comments : 0

More news stories

LinkedIn membership hits 300 million

The career-focused social network LinkedIn announced Friday it has 300 million members, with more than half the total outside the United States.

Treating depression in Parkinson's patients

A group of scientists from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging has found interesting new information in a study on depression and neuropsychological function in Parkinson's ...