New FCC Rules Now Playing in Harmony with FTC

Now two years to work through government channels may not seem like a long time – but in the corporate world it can feel like forever. A recent FCC meeting marked an end to two long years of uncertainty surrounding the 2010 TCPA Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM). The overall result is positive for the communications industry at large.

After reading the final FCC 12-21 order, below is what I see are the significant highlights:

  • In an attempt to harmonize rules and reduce industry confusion, the FCC adopted rules that mirror the FTC on consent for prerecorded telemarketing calls that have been in effect for a few years. Those rules will now apply to companies that were exempt from FTC jurisdiction, like telephone companies, banks and airlines. The rules continue not to apply to tax-exempt non-profit organizations, calls for political purposes and calls for other noncommercial purposes; including those that deliver purely public-service or emergency messages. However the FCC retained its exception, for wireless carriers calling their own customers without charging them for the call.
  • The requirement for prior express written consent for telemarketing calls to wireless numbers applies to calls (voice & text) that are either autodialed or prerecorded. Under the new rules, telemarketing text messages will require prior express written consent the same as prerecorded telemarketing messages. The same holds true for autodialed telemarketing messages to wireless phones using live operators (predictive calls).
  • The new rule will not go into effect until 12 months after Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval. This will allow our clients a relatively long window in which to obtain the required consent from their customers and others.

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