The FCC is cracking down on ringless voicemail spam

You’re not the only one fed up with ringless voicemails shoving spam into your inbox. The Federal Communications Commission has determined that these silent voicemails fall under the same Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) rules that prohibit unauthorized robocalls. Businesses need your permission to leave these unwanted messages because they are still considered calls, the FCC says. The ruling takes effect today.

The finding comes five years after marketers first sought exemptions from ringless voicemail regulations, the FCC says. The requests, from All About the Message and two other petitioners, reportedly received “overwhelming” negative feedback from public commentators. The Commission added that it receives “dozens” of complaints about these voicemails every year. FCC President Jessica Rosenworcel proposed in February to extend the TCPA to this spam.

As with other robocall actions, there is no guarantee that the voicemails will stop. Spammers can find alternative ways to deliver these messages, and there’s not much the FCC can do to restrict spam from outside the US. However, this does create firm boundaries within the country – companies that flout the rules risk FCC actions and customer lawsuits that could prove costly.

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