FCC To Make Robocalls Opt-In Only, But Human Telemarketers May Still Annoy You

In spite of the fact that more than 200 million numbers have been placed on the National Do Not Call Registry, robocalling telemarketers are continuing to either ignore the list or find ways around its restrictions. But the FCC is set to unveil new rules that would shrink the size of those loopholes.

According to CNN, the new FCC rules would require any telemarketer who makes automated, pre-recorded calls to obtain permission in writing from the people they call.

This would override the existing rule that allows marketers to call people they currently have an existing business relationship with.

So if you have a checking account at a bank, they won’t will be able to call you to try to sell you on a home equity line of credit unless you sign off on it.

Robocalls will also be required to have a clear way to opt out of future calls by pressing a button or two.

Unfortunately, the stricter rules will not apply to telemarketing calls from actual human beings.

FCC set to impose new limits on automated telemarketing calls [CNN]

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  1. unpolloloco says:

    Usually the robocalls are from people violating those laws anyway…I’ve never gotten a robocall (except for appt reminders and the like) otherwise.

    • AnonymousCommenter says:

      I agree that most of the people/organizations making robocalls are already violating the existing laws. Most of the ones that I receive have a false caller ID showing and the do not include an identifiable organizational name on their message. Unless they are willing to step up enforcement efforts, these “new” rules are only window dressing.

  2. belsonc says:

    The bank won’t will be able to call you?

  3. GreatWhiteNorth says:

    I stumbled on to a great way to get the live callers to hang up with no guilt on my side. I simply answer the phone with “bonjour”. The kid at the other end always hangs up since no one seems to want to talk to me in French.

    As for the robo calls everyone in the house does the same thing when the phone rings we pick it up and if there is no answer to our greeting in half a second we simply hang up.

    The calls that really piss us off are when the machine doing the calling hangs up immediately because it is just verifying the number. This only means you will be getting a call later.

    • Hedgy2136 says:

      The wife gave me a TeleZapper for Christmas many years ago. It’s still in use and works very well. I haven’t seen them in a long time.

    • SavijMuhdrox says:

      I found many many ways to deal with those people. From the angry, “What’s your name? Why did you call a DNC number? Who’s your superviser?” (usually results in a hang-up).. to the amazingly polite “Sure, let me get her for you right now” (at which point i put the phone down and go back to doing something else, they’ll get the hint when no one comes back to the phone)

    • AnonymousCommenter says:

      I find it easier to look at the caller ID and just not pick up the receiver unless I recognize the phone #. Legitimate callers will leave a message

    • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

      I tried this – but used Spanish – big mistake! The guy on the other end started blathering on in Spanish, and when I couldn’t respond, he swore at me. In English. My goal now is to learn some phrases in French or maybe Russian.

    • pamelad says:

      I think answering the phone with “bonjour” is a clever idea!

      We have a service with Qwest that costs around $6 per month. The caller gets a message that says something like, “No solicitations are accepted at this number. Please dial ’1′ to continue.” The solicitors hang up and we don’t even have to listen to the phone ring. We’ve had the service for years and it works like a charm. We hardly ever get nuisance calls, and previously got two or three a day. Well worth the cost.

  4. agent 47 says:

    DELETE! DELETE! DELETE! DELETE! DELETE!

    Cybermen suck.

  5. DJ Charlie says:

    Will this stop the assholes calling my cellphone every 2 hours with a recording saying “Please hold for a very important message”?

    • Guppy06 says:

      No. Such calls to cell phones are already illegal outright, so they’re already breaking the law to begin with.

      • DustingWhale says:

        I always start these calls with, “Hi, you’ve just called a personal cell phone that is also on the national do no call list. Any further contact will just cause you additional fines, I’m already filling out the complaint. Do not call again, please remove me from your list and do not rent/sell/exchange my information to any other parties. Thanks.”

    • Not Given says:

      File a complaint every time on the website. If you can, string them along to find out the name of the company and to tell them to put you on their do not call list. If you can identify the company, sue them.

  6. Costner says:

    Let me guess…. politicians and political groups will be exempt as usual? I’d say at least 90% of the robocalls I have ever received have been from politicians or groups working for them. Yet I have never provided my phone number to any of these groups so they clearly obtained it via voter registration records etc.

    The other 10%? My Dentist uses a robocall service to remind me of upcoming appointments. I probably wouldn’t mind that so much even if it is a little impersonal.

    • DJ Charlie says:

      I get those calls too, on a number that DOESN’T appear on my voter registration. They’re using an autodialer. It randomly dials an entire sequence like (859)297-0000 through (859)297-9999.

      And yes, as always they’re exempt.

  7. rpm773 says:

    According to CNN, the new FCC rules would require any telemarketer who makes automated, pre-recorded calls to obtain permission in writing from the people they call.

    Nice. Throwing the USPS a bone….

    • jasvll says:

      Throwing the USPS a bone would involve not making them fund pensions decades in advance and non-USPS worker pensions at all.

  8. Bodger says:

    It would be so simple if the feds would mandate _every_ call have a legitimate caller ID and every phone provider verify the legitimacy of caller IDs before passing the call on and that they also give subscribers unlimited blocking capability for numbers and blocks of numbers. Your local phone provider has the means to identify the entire back-path of every call and can readily verify that the calling number is properly identified in the caller ID — they simply don’t bother. And while some providers allow blocking of anonymous calls they pass them through with invalid IDs without question. My provider allows me to block calls from specific numbers based on caller ID but not blocks of numbers (i.e. I don’t want calls from 405-23*-****) and they only allow 20 numbers to be listed, both of these make the function essentially useless.

    • Lyn Torden says:

      Currently, several regional phone companies have a call rejection service available, where specific numbers can be rejected. However, they state that this only works for local calls. It does not work with long distance calls, even in cases where the call originates with the same local phone company and is establish only through regional trunks with the same phone company.

      This is clearly a case of the phone company (beginning with its corporate executives) just being stupid. If the call has the originator’s number associated with it (as caller ID info), then it can be matched against the called party’s rejection list (and if there is a match, reject the call).

      • AnonymousCommenter says:

        I think that the real reason that they won’t do anything about this issue is that the phone companies make more money off of these criminals than they do off of you or me.

      • Not Given says:

        On mine, you can only have 10 numbers on the list and you can only input local numbers. However, right after a call you can add any number by punching in the right code. First you have to turn on blocking with a local number *60 to access the service, ’3′ toggles the blocking off/on. Then after you get a call, pick up and listen for the dial tone, punch in *60 then #01#

  9. The Cybernetic Entomologist says:

    And, just like the existing rules, they will continue to be ignored and unenforced. More navel-gazing from the federal government. This is not going to have any real-world impact until these rules have actual teeth.

  10. TheSpatulaOfLove says:

    And here’s how they’re get around the ‘in writing’ piece: Start reading the mouseprint of your contracts from now on, as it’ll be buried in there in a wonderful 6pt font — of course with no option to decline.

  11. George4478 says:

    So the companies ignoring the current rules about calling me now have a whole new set of rules to ignore. I’m not believing I’ll see any meaningful reduction in the calls I get.

  12. George4478 says:

    So the companies ignoring the current rules about calling me now have a whole new set of rules to ignore. I’m not believing I’ll see any meaningful reduction in the calls I get.

  13. ole1845 says:

    A lot of these call originate outside the US. Good luck

    • El-Brucio says:

      I live in Canada and what I’ve noticed is that since Canada enacted it’s telemarketing do not call list, almost all of them now come from the US, where the law doesn’t apply.

      It wouldn’t surprise me if the scammy telemarketing companies on each side of the border have just swapped calling lists.

      I’d suggest trying to make some kind of cooperative North-American do not call list, but I suspect that we’d just start getting calls from India at that point.

  14. menty666 says:

    I’d like to see it be made a federal felony. Or, perhaps I’m just cranky about getting 3 calls a week from “Jane, at card holder services” using a fake number on the caller ID and a “delete my number” path that’s worth about as much as an election season promise.

    And before any of you tell me to get on the Do Not call list or to report it to the FTC, I’ve done both.

    • repeater says:

      Hah! (See my post right below yours).

      Yea, filing a complaint with the DNC registry doesn’t really do much when they are just grabbing random caller id numbers to use. Each call I get from those people has a unique number, but the recording is always the same one.

      I did it for the first year it was happening, and then gave up when nothing came of it.

  15. repeater says:

    This is Rachel from Card Services calling…

    These guys call me once or twice a day, at completely random times during the early morning and night. These new laws will do absolutely nothing about companies like this, who according to google searches have been doing this for YEARS now.

    Robocalling without identifying the source, with a fake caller id number, to a cell phone, that is on the DNC list. That right there is four things that are already illegal under current laws.

    • menty666 says:

      Yeah, somehow they got my cell number too. We need to get this stuff tucked into the Patriot Act so they can be rendered somewhere else.

    • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

      I always get calls from Rachel, and not the other people at “Cardholder Services”. Sometimes the numbers come up on my caller ID as xxx-000-xxxx – like I’m going to believe there’s a 000 exchange.

      I wish there was a way to track down their computers and unleash viruses on them.

    • Emperor Norton I says:

      From an LA Times column by David Lazarus, Nov. 29, 2011 http://articles.latimes.com/2011/nov/29/business/la-fi-lazarus-20111129
      “I called the number for “card member services” provided by Cohen, identified myself as a journalist and asked to speak with someone in charge. I was told that a supervisor would call me right back. No such call ever came.
      But before the agent managed to hang up, she identified her company as both Ambrosia Web Design and AWD CAM Services, and said they were based in Arizona. That gave me something to go on.
      According to the Arizona Corporation Commission, Ambrosia Web Design is operated by someone named Chris Ambrosia out of a house in Mesa.
      A company called CAM Services Direct is also registered to Ambrosia and, according to state records, operates out of the same Mesa house.
      Ambrosia, 45, didn’t return calls for comment.”

      • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

        OOO it should read “SCAM Services Direct” and it this is really the guy, it’s time he feels the wrath of the internet. It’s too bad a bunch of us couldn’t get together and robocall his home repeatedly, and sign him up for every piece of junk mail that exists.

      • NHpurple says:

        NOOO, Rachel is my friend and she was calling me everyday. Last week, I actually dialed the 1 and asked them to take me off the list. No calls this week, wonder how long it will last.

  16. CubeRat says:

    How about political parties. Or PACs, like the AARP #$%#@ that have been calling and bugging me for 17 years, since my mother’s death. When I complain to any of them, they advise that they are not required to adhere to Do Not Call lists because they are political.
    %^$&^ idiots. DIE already, leave me alone.

    OK, now I’ve had my rant, my coffee is ready so I’m going to go have a cup.

    • daemonaquila says:

      That’s where a traumatically loud whistle and extreme verbal abuse pay dividends. Surprising, how possible it is for you to be taken off a call list when the telemarketers are really motivated never to have to deal with the horror of you again.

      Also, for political calls, an extreme nastygram directly to the politician in question works like a dream.

    • mianne prays her parents outlive the TSA says:

      Dear [Name of Politician|PAC|Charity];

      I am writing to inform you that as a result of the RoboCall I received on your behalf at [Time], on [Date]; I will no longer consider supporting your [candidacy|cause]. If you wish to receive my consideration of support in future campaigns, please add [phone number] to your “Do Not Call” list.

      Sincerely,
      [signature]
      [name]

  17. APCO25guy says:

    after getting 5 boiler room spam turd bots from Oregon area codes yesterday, it’s high time the FCC REQUIRE these teleturds to put a REAL FACTUAL caller ID data with a VALID CALLBACK NUMBER with the NAME and ADDRESS of the company available so you can send them a FUCK OFF letter and SUE THEIR ASS if they continue to harass you.

    I HATE these people, I HATE them with everything I have. I would not be saddened if a fire broke out in the building where these douchebags operate and the sprinkler system failed to activate.

    The part that gets me is I called Verizon to report the harassing calls and they say there is NOTHING I can do short of PAYING THEM to block up to 20 numbers. Fat chance. I already PAY them over $140 a month, and I don’t pay to be harassed and bothered by these teleturds.
    I asked them about an ANI/ALI trap and trace like the real ma Bell used to do, and they say they don’t offer this service (bullshit, law enforcement can get incoming ANI on any cellphone thanks to the Patriot Act. Of course WE THE PEOPLE don’t get that option when WE are the victims of crime)

    Enough of these people. I wish they would all get a venereal disease.

  18. AnonymousCommenter says:

    It would be nice if the phone companies would provide a way for people to create a whitelist of phone numbers that are allowed to call. If the calling party’s number is on the list, the call would be connected. All other calls would be sent directly to voicemail or not connected.

    • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

      I like this idea. And anyone who has a local exchange of “000″ would get a hearing destroying blast of sound when they called my number. That would make me happy too.

    • Daggertrout says:

      U-verse has the feature, and most over VoIP services probably do as well. U-verse limits you to just 20 numbers though.

    • daemonaquila says:

      There already is a service like this from some providers. Some of my clients have it.

  19. lenagainster says:

    We rarely get a telemarketer any more. The steps we have taken were effective.
    We ditched our landline, using only cellphones.
    We got a Google Voice number.
    If we must give out a phone number to a business, when signing a form, etc. we use our GV number.
    All calls to our GV number go to voicemail.
    If a telemarketer happens to call our cell, we add that number to a contact called “Telescum” and all calls to “Telescum” go immediately to voicemail.
    Telemarketers rarely leave a message.
    Now, the only calls we get from people and businesses we don’t know are mis-dialed numbers.

    • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

      Question – can you set up the Telescum numbers to forward calls to each other? Like if Rachel from Cardholder Services calls, can you forward her to oh, say the people who call about free cruises?

      • mianne prays her parents outlive the TSA says:

        Google Voice (and probably any other reputable service) requires you to verify any forwarding numbers (Enter a code online which is sent to that number) preventing you from creating such a feedback loop.

        Now, with my VoIP provider (Ooma), I can not only block a number, but have it indicate the number is not in service. However, I don’t give out that number anyway, Though I get plenty of collection calls for someone I’ve never heard of–probably had the same number before me. This helps a lot, but it’s still like playing Whack-A-Mole as they may have several collection accounts which get sold to other agencies regularly.

  20. Daggertrout says:

    I love that U-verse has a white list feature. Sure, it only allows 20 numbers, but there’s only a few people that would call the house number anyway.

  21. aja175 says:

    If the do not call list is any indicator this will be ignored too.

  22. daemonaquila says:

    Any additional restriction is welcome. I rarely get calls because I only keep a cel phone, use the do not call list, and aggressively track down and lay into anyone who sends a telemarketer or robocall my way. (Yes, the nasty approach really works, and it doesn’t take that long.) I’ve had maybe 1 robocall and 1 solicitation in the past 6 months… but I’m going for 0!

  23. cspschofield says:

    Want to solve the whole problem of telemarketers violating the “No Call” rules? Pass a law stating that within the United States the punishment for kneecapping (either with firearm or baseball bat) any representative of a company that has called your house without your express permission shall be no more than $2.

    *evil grin*

  24. Starrion says:

    Laws and regulations will be followed by lawful companies. How does the FCC plan to deal with the bottom-feeding scum who ignore regulations and blast out robocalls to cell phones, DNC listed #’s ect?

    Recent examples: auto warranties, Tom from Card services, Home security services, and identify theft protection.

  25. diannnoeora says:

    I’m on the do not call registry and only have a cell phone. I seldom get a sales call, but recently, I’ve received several text message from telemarketers. Does anyone know if the laws have addressed text messages? I have unlimited texts, but a lot of people don’t and in that case, I would be angry.

  26. MikeVx says:

    Anybody of importance to me has my cell phone number.

    I just don’t bother answering my home phone during hours when it is legal for businesses to call. Anyone legitimate will leave a message, most of the scammers don’t bother or are so obvious that I hit 7 right away.

    On my old cell phone, I dealt with garbage calls by creating entries like “Fraudulent Caller” “Scumbucket” and the like with ring settings of silent/no vibration and putting the numbers in there until I filled a name, than I created another one. My new phone has the ability to blacklist a number. I’ll figure out exactly what this does eventually, but if it keeps the phone from ringing on tagged numbers, it works for me.

  27. pot_roast says:

    So as usual, the jerks that are overseas and making the scam phone calls will simply ignore this American law.

    Nothing will change. EVERY TIME I get a bogus call, it’s from some bogus/spoofed number, and when i’m feeling surly and talk to someone, it’s an overseas call center… that will hang up on you within seconds if they don’t like what they’re hearing.

  28. GrueLurks says:

    The Dolly’s Pizza franchise here in Michigan was notorious for this. If you ever ordered pizza from them over the phone, you would begin getting robocalls advertising their daily specials multiple times a week. Nothing like getting a robocall at 9am in the morning advertising pizza. Even after I opted out, I still got calls from other stores.

  29. BradenR says:

    Answering machines are perfect for handling all kinds of “spam:, Just never pick up until you know who is on the line. Telemarketers won’t bother to leave a message, they just hang up when the recorded message comes into play.

  30. the real napster says:

    how would that work for non sales related robocalls? I had a problem w/my cable service and i got an automated call the night before reminding me that I was scheduled for a visit the next day. I also got one 15 minutes before he showed to let me know he was dispatched, Now in my mind, this is a good robocall (I’d prefer a human touch but hey, it’s not THAT bad), but would this be outlawed under the new rule?

  31. DarkPsion says:

    What about telemarketers who hang up just as you try to tell them to put you on their do not call list?

    It would be nice if this new law addressed that as well.

  32. kella says:

    The first rule of telemarketing should be that the caller must specify the name of the company they work for and where they got your information from. That way you know:

    1) Whether a company you do business sold your info to someone else
    2) Who sold your information, or who is bothering you

    They should be required to do this after ‘Hello’ and before they try to say anything else. That way you know who to stop doing business with.

  33. tehbob says:

    Now whats going to happen is this that under a contract you sign to say sign up for a bank account or a software program or to use a website or to use a service will be something like this.

    “by agreeing to the terms and use of blah blah blah you are agreeing that you can be contacted by electronic calling methods of company X, any of its affilieattes, and anyone who pays company x to get the list.”