Telephone Consumer Protection Act
In an attempt to address an increasing amount of telephone marketing calls, Congress established in 1991 the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The TCPA limits the making of telemarketing calls and using automatic telephone dialing systems and artificial or prerecorded voice messages. The policies apply to common carriers as well as to other marketers. In 1992, the Commission adopted guidelines to carry out the TCPA, including the requirement that companies making telephone solicitations institute procedures for maintaining company-specific do-not-call lists.
Most recently, in 2012, the FCC revised its TCPA regulations to require telemarketers (1) to acquire prior express written consent from individuals before robocalling them, (2) to no longer allow telemarketers to use an "established business relationship" to avoid acquiring consent from consumers when their home phones, and (3) to require telemarketers to offer an automated, interactive "opt-out" mechanism during each robocall so individuals can immediately tell the telemarketer to stop calling.
Previously, in 2003, the FCC revised its TCPA regulations to create, in coordination with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), a national Do-Not-Call registry. The national registry is nationwide in scope, covers all telemarketers (with the exception of some nonprofit organizations), and applies to both interstate as well as intrastate phone calls. The registry went into effect on October 1, 2003, and is carried out by the FTC. To minimize the number of hang-up and dead air calls consumers experience, the Commission's telemarketing regulations also include restrictions on the use of auto dialers and requirements for transferring caller ID information.