Revised Telemarketing Rules to Take Effect Beginning July 11

This post was co-written by Randy Sifers.

In February, the FCC adopted several changes to its telemarketing rules, including a new requirement that telemarketers must receive express written consent to send certain autodialed or prerecorded message calls. On June 11, the FCC’s order was published in the Federal Register. The Federal Register summary is available here.

As a result, the new rules will take effect beginning July 11, 2012. As explained after the jump, some of the rules will not take effect until OMB approves the new recordkeeping requirements. Nevertheless, publication in the Federal Register starts the clock for appeals and petitions for reconsideration of the rules.

The changes to the FCC’s rules are intended to maximize consistency with the FTC’s analogous Telemarketing Sates Rule. The new rules require prior express written consent for all autodialed or prerecorded telemarketing calls to wireless numbers and for prerecorded calls to residential lines, and accordingly, eliminate the established business relationship exemption for such calls to residential lines. Purely information calls are not subject to the written consent requirement, however. In addition, the new rules require all prerecorded telemarketing calls to allow consumers to opt out of future prerecorded telemarketing calls using an interactive, automated opt-out mechanism, and limit the number of permissible abandoned calls on a per-calling campaign basis. The new rules contain four different implementation periods varying from 30 days to twelve months, depending on the specific rule change.

Notably, portions of the new rules will not take effect until they are approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). These portions include several of the most significant changes, such as the express written consent requirement and a requirement to provide an opt-out mechanism on outbound prerecorded calls. We expect the FCC to release a Public Notice announcing when OMB has approved these portions of the rules.

The rules also contain new definitions and clarifications that may differ from current practices by telemarketers. Telemarketers should review their procedures carefully to ensure that they are in compliance with the new FCC rules.