Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)
In an attempt to deal with a growing 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 automated 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 modified its TCPA policies to require telemarketers (1) to obtain prior express written authorization from consumers before robocalling them, (2) to no longer permit telemarketers to use an "established business relationship" to avoid getting consent from individuals 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.
Earlier, in 2003, the FCC revised its TCPA rules to develop, 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 certain nonprofit organizations), and applies to both interstate as well as intrastate calls. The registry went into effect on October 1, 2003, and is overseen by the FTC. To decrease the number of hang-up and dead air calls consumers experience, the Commission's telemarketing regulations also have restrictions on using autodialers and requirements for transmitting caller ID information.