FCC adopts additional rules for robocalls and robotexts

The FCC adopted new rules today to protect consumers from scam robocalls and robotexts. Let’s have a look.

New rules

The Second Report and Order on Targeting and Eliminating Unlawful Text Messages (CG 21-402) includes the following rules:

  • Clarifies that each seller must obtain consent from consumers to receive robocalls and robotexts, i.e., “one-to-one” consent. (This issue is sometimes referred to as the “lead generator loophole.”)
    • Effective 12 months after publication in the Federal Register or 30 days after notice that OMB review has finished, whichever is later.
  • Mandates blocking of text messages from numbers red-flagged by the Commission.
    • Effective 180 days after publication in the Federal Register.
  • Codifies that the Do-Not-Call list applies to text messaging.
    • Effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.
  • Encourages providers to make email-to-text messages an opt-in service.
    • Effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.

The Commissioners agreed on most aspects of this rule, except for Commissioner Simington, who disagreed with the one-to-one consent rule. He was concerned that the rule would cause disruption and harm to small businesses that rely on lead generators. Commissioner Simington said that the Commission should have sought further comment to find a less disruptive approach.

Commissioner Gomez also commented on this rule. She said that she was also concerned over the potential for disruption and harm to small businesses. However, she concluded that the rules allow ways for lead generators and comparison-shopping websites to obtain the necessary consent from consumers to allow robocalls and robotexts from multiple sellers. The process would be different, but the rules would not prevent comparison shopping or lead generation.

Further notice of proposed rulemaking

The Commission also voted to launch a further notice of proposed rulemaking to consider adopting the following rules:

  • Text message authentication
  • Additional text message blocking requirements
  • Requiring, rather than simply encouraging, providers to make email-to-text services opt-in.

More information

blocks with letters that spell new rules

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Updated December 19, 2023, to add effective days and a link to the Second Report and Order.