Hate those relentless calls where you pick up only to find a machine on the other end trying to sell you something? Or just silence and clicks? Well hate no more.
Under new FCC rules that go into effect Wednesday, a company must now obtain "prior express consent of the called party" before making a call or sending a text message to a cellphone using an "automatic telephone dialing system or an artificial or prerecorded voice."
The new Telephone Consumer Protection Act requires telemarketers to capture and store that prior written consent before using any autodialers , text messages or pre-recorded messages.
If the companies don't follow the rules, consumers have a right to recover statutory damages of $500 per call.
Under the rule , "prior express written consent" will require (1) a clear and conspicuous disclosure that by providing consent the consumer will receive auto-dialed or prerecorded calls or texts on behalf of a specific seller; and (2) a clear and unambiguous acknowledgment that, having been informed about the consequences of consent, the consumer agrees to receive such calls at the mobile number provided.
Starting October 16, companies will need prior consent to send texts or make prerecorded calls even to existing users or subscribers. That may require companies to "refresh" consent from their existing users.
This means that when a telemarketer calls or texts a consumer, the consumer can ask the company to show them written proof of permission to text or call." If the company cannot provide that, the consumer can sue the violators directly.