FTC Puts an end to “Robocalls” tomorrow

Ever get one of those automated phone calls with the taped (okay, recorded) voice? Most of the time its telling you about something you have no interest in, and you can tell right away you’re not interested, and now you have the added aggravation as you realize the “person” at the other end doesn’t even want to talk to you about it personally.

Well, many, many, many of those calls become history today. Sept. 1 marks the end of the pre-recorded telemarketing “robocall “.

The Federal Trade Commission** said it is banning “robocalls” to consumers, unless the telemarketer has “written permission” from a customer that they want to receive these calls. (Ooo! Ooo! Sign me up, please! …Not!)

Now, perhaps you noticed, I said “many” and not “all”. Did you see that? No? You didn’t? … Oh … you did? Yeah, well, don’t worry, there’s no catch, … really. There will be some automated calls that are allowed without written permission. For example, informative calls like flight cancellations, prescriptions from your doctor or pharmacist, delivery notices, and debt collectors calls will be allowed.

Hmm. I can happily live with the first three, but can I opt out of the last one? (Probably not).

Franly, there are a lot of other annoying calls that are still permitted, and those also include calls from politicians, charities, banks, insurers, phone companies, and survey calls. Why aren’t they banned, too? Because this is an FTC or Federal Trade Commission ruling, and not an FCC or Federal Communications Commission ruling. The FTC deals with trade and sales, not communications. Since the latter calls aren’t selling anything (at least not for money) they they aren’t part of the FTC’s jurisdiction.

Rats! What a difference one letter makes.

By the way, this kinda does away with the do-not-call list, and as of tomorrow no one should be receiving these “most” of these calls anymore; and if you do, now you can file a complaint with the commission at www.FTC.gov or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP. Under the new rules violators can expect to pay a $16,000 fine.

Loophole: This doesn’t put an end to annoying “live” calls. The robots may have lost some jobs here; but humans are still permitted to pick up the phone and personally annoy their fellow man (or woman).

** Think about who put this out. It’s important later.

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