New rules banning robocalls take effect

Sept. 1, 2009 at 11:33 AM

WASHINGTON, Sept. 1 (UPI) -- U.S. telemarketers now need written permission from consumers to use prerecorded telephone pitches known as "robocalls," officials said Tuesday.

The Federal Trade Commission said changes in the national Telemarketing Sales Rule took effect Tuesday barring the widespread use of robocalls on unsuspecting U.S. residents, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported.

That will likely mean a big decrease in the annoying automated sales calls, pitching everything from satellite television to car insurance, consumer advocates said.

"We don't anticipate a lot of consumers writing to robocallers and saying 'Please call me,'" Bob Williams, a spokesman in Consumer Union's Washington office told the Sun-Sentinel.

The new rules apply even if the telephone owner hasn't signed up for the national Do Not Call registry, FCC officials said. Live telemarketers, however, can continue to call unless the owner has registered a Do Not Call request.

"I think it's fantastic. I couldn't be happier," business owner Michelle Wlosinski of Getzville, N.Y., told The Buffalo (N.Y.) News. "I don't begrudge anybody the ability to do business. Where it interferes with our ability to take care of our customers, then it becomes a problem."

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