Today (Dec. 1) the FTC announced that all prerecorded telemarketing messages must have an easy way for consumers to opt-out of future calls. Currently prerecorded calls are legal only in certain limited circumstances--like if the caller represents a charity or has an "established business relationship" with the individual.
Now these prerecorded calls must provide consumers with a way to opt-out, and the FTC has outlined specific guidelines telemarketers must adhere to.
Here is an excerpt from the FTC's News Release:
"Under Do Not Call amendments adopted in August, effective today, any permitted prerecorded message must provide the called consumer with an interactive means to opt out of receiving future calls from the seller or fundraiser using the prerecorded message. Moreover, the consumer must be able to opt out at any time while the message is playing by pressing a particular number or speaking a particular word. Once the consumer has opted out, his or her phone number must be automatically added to the in-house Do Not Call list of the calling seller or fundraiser. Then the call immediately must be disconnected so that the consumer's line is cleared."
However, as always, there are a few exceptions to this rule. Political calls, market survey calls, calls made in-house by banks or telephone companies, and healthcare messages covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), are all exempt from this requirement.
The FTC also revealed that in September 2009 prerecorded calls will be regulated even further, as these messages will only be permissible in "calls to consumers who have expressly agreed to receive them."
From today forward, if you receive prerecorded calls violating these terms make sure to file a complaint with the FTC!