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What is the Telephone Consumer Protection Act?
In an effort to deal with a growing amount of telephone marketing calls, Congress passed in 1991 the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The TCPA restricts the making of telemarketing calls as well as the use of 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 rules to carry out the TCPA, including the requirement that companies making telephone solicitations establish procedures for keeping company-specific do-not-call lists.
Most recently, in 2012, the FCC revised its TCPA regulations 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 permission from consumers when their home phones, and (3) to require telemarketers to offer an automated, interactive "opt-out" mechanism during each robocall so consumers 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 particular nonprofit organizations), and applies to both interstate as well as intrastate phone calls. The registry took effect on October 1, 2003, and is carried out by the FTC. To reduce the number of hang-up and dead air calls individuals experience, the Commission's telemarketing policies also have restrictions on using auto dialers and requirements for transmitting caller ID information.
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