Dinnertime robocalls are already illegal
BY PHIL MULKINS World Action Line Editor
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
7/25/12 at 3:25 AM
When you're eating dinner and get a call from an "automatic dial announcing device," it's illegal unless you've given the caller written permission to call you.
Illegal pre-recorded "robocalls" are a growing annoyance to millions of Americans and the target of an enforcement crackdown by the Federal Trade Commission.
Nearly all telemarketing robocalls have been illegal since Sept. 1, 2009, as the only legal sales robocalls are those consumers have specifically approved in writing. Certain other types of robocalls, such as political calls, survey calls and charitable calls remain legal and are not covered by the 2009 ban.
The FTC has brought 85 enforcement cases targeting illegal robocalls and violators have paid $41 million in penalties. Since January 2010, the agency has brought law enforcement actions, shutting down companies responsible for 2.6 billion illegal telemarketing robocalls.
Oklahoma Automatic Dial Announcing Device Act: Robocalls have been illegal here since July 1, 1992, defined and prohibited by Oklahoma statutes (Title 15 Section 755.1) prohibit "automatic dial announcing device calls" through "random number dialing or to dial numbers determined by successively increasing or decreasing integers," but does allow automated calls under specific circumstances, according to the Oklahoma Supreme Court Network.
"Robocalls can be made only when the device disconnects from the called person's line no later than 20 seconds after the called person hangs up. Such calls cannot be made before 9 a.m. or after 9 p.m. or at any hour that collection calls would be prohibited under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act when used for collection purposes.
Calls may be made to people who have made written requests to be called or concerning goods or services that have been previously ordered or purchased. They can be made by creditors or their assignees or when initiated by a live operator who gives the caller the option to disconnect prior to playing a prerecorded or synthesized voice message. See a Jan. 20, 2006, Oklahoma attorney general press release about a Florida telemarketer being ordered to pay a $230,000 fine for ignoring our state's Don't Call List and for using an auto dialer to do so at tulsaworld.com/OKAGNoAutoDialer
Oklahoma Consumer Protection Act: They are also prohibited by the Oklahoma Consumer Protection Act ( tulsaworld.com/OKConsProtAct) effective Nov. 1, 1999.
"Automatic dial announcing device" means automatic equipment that stores telephone numbers to be called or has a random or sequential number generator capable of producing numbers to be called, conveys a prerecorded or synthesized voice message to the number called and is used for the purpose of offering goods or services for sale or conveying information regarding such goods or services."
FTC Robocall tips: The FTC issued tips July 10 for consumers, as well as two new consumer education videos explaining robocalls ( tulsaworld.com/FTCVideoTipsRoboCalls and tulsaworld.com/FTCVidTipReptRobo ) describing what you should do when robocalls arrive.
Feds to raise enforcement
The Federal Trade Commission plans a stepped-up assault on robocallers under the Telemarketing Sales Rule ( tulsaworld.com/FTCTeleSalesRule).
Calls delivering recorded messages worded to sell you something are illegal, unless you've given written permission for the caller to call you.
Robocalls are illegal even if your phone number is not registered on the National Do Not Call Registry ( tulsaworld.com/NtlDoNotCall) Most legitimate businesses adhere to the Telemarketing Sales Rule and do not place illegal robocalls. But the prevalence of illegal robocalls has increased significantly in recent years due to technological advances making it easier and cheaper to make large numbers of robocalls to consumers from anywhere in the world, and fake (spoof) Caller ID information to obscure location and evade law enforcement.
Aggressive law enforcement: The agency continues targeting high volume offenders and pursuing "chokepoints" in the calling process to stop large numbers of illegal calls. The agency has stopped companies responsible for making billions of robocalls since September of 2009 and continues identifying, locating and prosecuting those responsible.
Gathering evidence strategically: The FTC is pursuing an innovative strategy to gather evidence about illegal robocalls directly and act on this information as quickly as possible. Check the Telemarketing Sales Rule website for more details in the next few months.
Pursuing technological solutions: FTC staff continue to hold meetings and calls with engineers, technologists, and industry experts to discuss technological solutions to better trace illegal calls, combat caller ID spoofing, and stop illegal calls.
Hosting Robocall Summit: The agency will host a summit Oct. 18 with law enforcement, industry, the telemarketing and telecommunications industry, consumer groups and other stakeholders. It will explore innovations that have the potential to be used in tracing robocalls, preventing wrongdoers from faking caller ID data and stopping illegal calls.
Original Print Headline: Know your robocall rights
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