FTC Listens To Your Complaints, (Mostly) Bans Telemarketer Robocalls

After reviewing the more than 14,000 comments left by living human beings, the FTC yesterday amended its Telemarketing Sales Rule to ban most types of robotic telemarketing calls. By this December, any recorded calls will have to lead off with an automated opt-out option; by September 2009, telemarketers will need prior written permission to contact someone—simply being a recent customer won’t cut it.

Of course, there are still exceptions.

Health care-related calls subject to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 are still allowed, as are charitable fundraising robocalls made to members of the nonprofit charitable organization for which the call is placed, or to people who previously donated to it. The fundraising calls must still include an automated opt-out, however.

The strict limits won’t stop robocalls from political campaigns, either.”Political calls are not placed for the purpose of inducing purchases of goods or services, and therefore are not ‘telemarketing’ within the meaning of the TSR,” the FTC notes in a footnote of the amendment.

If you feel plagued by telemarketers, try the tips in our past posts for getting them to stop calling your, or for dealing with them effectively when they keep doing it.

“FTC all but bans robocalls” [CNET] (Thanks to Jason!)