Published: May 2017

What’s more annoying than robocalls? We could soon find out.

Consumer Action joined coalition advocates in submitting comments to the Federal Communications Commission opposing its proposal to allow private companies and political organizations to send automated messages into consumers’ voicemail inboxes without causing the cellphones themselves to ring. The proposal would move “ringless voicemail” robocalling technology from a regulatory gray area to legal fair game, opening the floodgates for telemarketers and political organizations to inundate Americans’ voicemails with messages hawking products, services, and candidates for office.

Under current federal law, telemarketers and political groups aren’t allowed to launch robocall campaigns targeting cellphones unless they first obtain a consumer’s written consent. Proponents of the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) proposal argue that “ringless voicemail” doesn’t qualify as a call, since the phone doesn’t actually ring, and therefore companies shouldn’t need consumers’ consent if they want to auto-dial voicemail inboxes.

Robocalls are partly responsible for consumers’ decision to drop their landline phones, and if the FCC relaxes the rules, consumers would be unable to block the pesky messages from appearing on their phone.

Lead Organization

National Consumer Law Center (NCLC)

Other Organizations

Center for Responsible Lending | Consumer Action | Consumer Federation of America | Consumers Union | National Association of Consumer Advocates | Public Knowledge | U.S. PIRG | Public Justice Center of Maryland | Legal Services NYC | Legal Aid Society of Southwest Ohio, LLC | Financial Protection Law Center, Wilmington, NC Kentucky | Equal Justice Center | SC Appleseed Legal Justice Center | Virginia Poverty Law Center | Mountain State Justice of West Virginia

More Information

Click here to read the full comment letter.

For more information, please visit NCLC.

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