This will depend on how the call was made. The TCPA, enforced by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), sets strict requirements for companies making robocalls to help prevent consumers from receiving unwanted prerecorded or autodialed phone calls. It is illegal if the unwanted phone calls fail to meet the following requirements.
Express Written Consent
Prior to placing robocalls and using automated dialers, telemarketers must receive consumers’ written or electronic signatures, known as express written consent. The FCC’s definition of express written consent under the TCPA matches that of the E-SIGN Act which defines an electronic signature as “an electronic sound, symbol, or process attached or logically associated with a contract or other record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record.” This means that consent can be given in various ways including checking a consent box on an online form.
Companies, however, must clearly state that customers consent to receiving robocalls when submitting their phone numbers. In addition, companies are not allowed to require consent as a prerequisite to purchasing goods or services and are prohibited from collecting cell phone numbers through unrelated transactions, incoming phone calls or third-party contracts.
An Option to “Opt Out”
Regardless of whether a telemarketer calls or leaves a voice message, he or she must provide an option for the recipient to opt-out of the calls. When answering a call, this option must be given at the beginning of the message, and when leaving voice messages, telemarketers must provide toll-free call-back numbers so that recipients can add their phone numbers to a do-not-call list.
Companies placing robocalls must provide recipients with various types of information.
At the beginning of a message, a caller must state:
- His or her identity
- The identity of the business on whose behalf he or she is making the call
During or after the message, the caller must provide:
- The address of the business responsible for placing the call
- The phone number of that business