New Opt-Out Rules for Recorded Message Telemarketing Calls In Effect Today

December 02, 2008
Starting December 1, 2008 any telemarketing call that delivers a prerecorded message must include a quick and easy way to opt out of receiving future calls. The opt-out method must work both for consumers who answer these calls in person and for those with prerecorded messages left on their answering machines or voice mail services.

Prerecorded telemarketing calls are allowed only when the caller has an established business relationship with the consumer being called. Effective today, any permitted prerecorded message must provide a way for consumers to opt out of receiving future calls from the seller or fundraiser using the prerecorded message. At any time while the message is playing, consumers must be able to opt out by pressing a particular number or saying a particular word. If the prerecorded telemarketing message is left on an answering machine or voice mail service, it must include a toll-free number that, when called, connects to an automated voice or keypress opt-out mechanism. 

All recorded telemarketing calls subject to the Federal Trade Commission's Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) must comply with the new requirements, including calls to solicit sales of goods or services and calls placed by telemarketers to solicit charitable donations.

The automated opt-out requirement is the first of two new measures to protect consumers’ privacy at home. Until Sept. 1, 2009, sellers may continue to use prerecorded messages when calling consumers with whom they have an established business relationship. After that date, sellers may use prerecorded messages only in calls to consumers who have expressly agreed in advance to receive them.

Read the full Federal Trade Commission news release.