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Robocalls Have Been Banned BBB States

BBB Predicts Change in Volume of Telemarketing Complaints

Anchorage, AK – August 31, 2009 – Although Better Business Bureau complaints regarding robocalls have become increasingly more common in recent years, a new law could drastically reduce complaints of this nature.

The Federal Trade Commission recently announced a rule that prevents unsolicited robocalls to consumers. Effective September 1, 2009, most robocalls will be illegal and telemarketers must obtain permission in writing from consumers in order to make prerecorded commercial telemarketing calls.

Telemarketers in violation can incur penalties of up to $16,000 per call.

As an amendment of the FTC's Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) from 2008, this new regulation enforces a strict stance against prerecorded pitches and harassment from robocallers. Prior to this, soliciting businesses were required to provide an opt-out function in their prerecorded messages—such as a voice or keypad—activated prompt, or a toll-free phone number with an automated opt-out system. Now, these calls are prohibited regardless of whether the consumer has previously done business with the seller.

This prohibition does not include or affect "informational" calls or recorded messages from select healthcare providers, banks, telephone carriers, politicians, and certain charitable organizations. In addition, calls that do not solicit the sale of goods or services may also be exempt.

"For those who have felt burdened by the recent influx of robocalls, it's been a long time coming,” said Robert W.G. Andrew, CEO of BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington. “Now, consumers can decide whether to accept or decline prerecorded telemarketing calls.”

Those who receive unwanted prerecorded telemarketing calls after the rule goes into effect, but have not agreed to them in writing, should:

  • Register home and cell phone numbers on the Do Not Call List at www.donotcall.gov or call 1-888-382-1222.

  • Contact the FTC and file a complaint at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov or call 1-877-382-4357.

  • Be aware of the regulations governing telemarketing, which protect consumers and businesses. For more information, check with the FTC and your BBB at www.bbb.org.

Read your BBB's recent article on robocalls: www.alaska.bbborg/article/bbb-warns-consumer-of-robocalls-promising-to-lower-their-credit-card-interest-rate-10973.

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About your BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington:
Your Better Business Bureau is a not-for-profit organization funded by Better Business Bureau Accredited Businesses. The BBB’s mission is to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust. For more information about the services and products provided by your BBB, call 206-431-2222 or 253-830-2924 in Washington, 503-212-3022 in Oregon, 907-562-0704 in Alaska, or visit our Web site at www.bbb.org.

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