The Robots are Calling

September 1, 2009

Starting Sept 1 (that's today!), the Federal Trade Commission banned most prerecorded, or robot, telemarketing calls to "consumers".  From this day those calls are supposed to be permissable only if the robot has written authority from you.

"American consumers have made it crystal clear that few things annoy them more than the billions of commercial telemarketing robocalls they receive every year," said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz.

You can report illegal robots making calls to you online at or by calling 1-877-382-4357.  Penalties can be up to $16,000 per call, the FTC said.

This sounds like a really fantastic deal and you would think that it would put an end to electronic recordings interrupting your dinner.  The FTC's headline of "New Rule Prohibiting Unwanted 'Robocalls' To Take Effect on September 1" sounds very official and definitive.   The articles goes on to say that in order for a telemarketer's machine to call you, the telemarketer needs written approval from you consenting to the call. 

However, the ban does not apply to calls which are:

  • purely 'informational'.

  • from a debt collector.

  • from a politician.

  • from a bank.

  • from a phone service provider.

  • from a charitable organization.

  • 'certain' healthcare messages.

Do you recieve any telemarketer calls which can't be classified in some manner listed above?

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