New FCC Restrictions Governing “Robocalls” Go into Effect on July 20, 2023

Thursday, June 29, 2023

New Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) rules for artificial or prerecorded voice calls—known colloquially as “robocalls”—will go into effect on July 20, 2023, for calls to landlines. Here is what nonprofit and political organizations need to know:

  1. New Three-Call/30-Day Limit
    • As a default, callers are now limited to making only three robocalls to each telephone number during any 30-day consecutive period.
      • Callers may exceed this limit only if they obtain the prior consent of the called party or if the prerecorded call is introduced by a live agent or operator. (While prior consent may be given orally or in writing, obtaining the consent in writing is highly recommended.)
  2. New Opt-Out and Do-Not-Call Requirements
    • Within two seconds of providing the identification information described below (#3), an automated, interactive voice- and/or key press-activated opt-out mechanism must be provided, along with brief instructions for how to use the mechanism.
      • If a recipient elects to opt out using the automated mechanism, the mechanism must automatically record the opt-out request and immediately terminate the call.
    • Additionally, a telephone number must be provided that recipients can call and make a request during regular business hours to opt out of future calls.
      • The call-back number may not be a 900 number or other number for which charges exceed local or long-distance charges.
      • Messages left on voicemails must provide a toll-free number that allows the recipient to call back and connect directly to an automated opt-out mechanism.
    • All organizations making robocalls must now maintain their own do-not-call lists for recipients who make opt-out requests. Such requests must be honored within 30 days of receiving a request and for five years thereafter.
    • All organizations making robocalls must now have a written policy for maintaining a do-not-call list and the policy must be made available to any member of the public upon request. Moreover, all personnel who are involved in making robocalls must be informed and trained on the existence and use of the do-not-call list.
      • Under the prior rules, only organizations making robocalls advertising property, goods, or services were required to maintain a written do-not-call policy.
  3. Enhanced Identification Requirement
    • All robocalls must now identify both the name of the individual who recorded the call and the name of the organization sponsoring the call.
      • The identification must be stated at the beginning of the call. (Although the new rule is unclear about whether both the name of the individual and the organization must be stated at the beginning, at least one of these must be stated at the beginning. As a practical matter, organizations will likely wish to provide both pieces of information at the beginning.)
      • Under the prior rules, robocalls only had to state either the name of the individual who recorded the call or the name of the sponsoring organization.
  4. Preexisting Restrictions Continue to Apply
    • The new FCC rules make no changes to some important preexisting restrictions on robocalls.
      • Robocalls are still PROHIBITED to cellphones and other numbers for which the recipient is charged for the call unless the caller has the recipient’s prior consent.
      • Robocalls are still PROHIBITED to emergency lines and rooms in hospitals, health care facilities, nursing homes, and other similar establishments.
  5. Additional State Laws May Apply
    • The FCC rules described above apply to robocalls made nationwide. However, some states may have their own additional restrictions and requirements that apply to robocalls made to residents in those states.

Please contact The Gober Group to learn more.