Starting today, telemarketers must include a quick and easy way for Americans to opt-out of pre-recorded telemarketing calls. The opt-out feature must work for both calls that are received in person and messages left on answering machines or voice mail messages.
According to the FTC, pre-recorded telephone messages are allowed only when the consumer has an existing business relationship with the calling company. For example, Blockbuster calling you from 000-000-0000 to remind you to return your DVD to the store is a legal recorded telephone call. However, under the new rule Blockbuster should allow you to opt-out of future telephone calls.
This should be a welcome relief to consumers who can now easily decrease the number of future telephone calls. However, as many EveryCall.us users have reported, many recorded calls are made illegally from callers with no business relationship. These calls should be reported to both EveryCall.us and the FTC by visiting the FTC Complaint Assistant.
This is the first of two steps being taken by the FTC to limit the number of pre-recorded telephone calls received by consumers.
The automated opt-out requirement is the first of two measures provided by the recent TSR amendment to protect consumers’ privacy at home. The second measure prohibits telemarketing calls that deliver prerecorded messages to anyone who has not agreed in advance to receive such calls. But until September 1, 2009, sellers may continue to use prerecorded messages in calling consumers with whom they have an established business relationship. After that date, sellers may use prerecorded messages only in calls to consumers who have expressly agreed in advance to receive them.