FCC Proposes Changes and Clarifications for Robocall/Robotext Rules

The FCC is asking for comments on proposed changes and clarifications to its robocall and robotext requirements for grant and revocation of consumer consents.

Revocation of Consent. The FCC wants its current opt-out and revocation-of-consent policy to become a permanent rule. The proposed rule would allow a robocall or robotext recipient to opt-out or revoke consent through any reasonable method that clearly expresses a desire not to receive future communications. It would also prohibit a caller or text initiator from establishing an exclusive means to revoke consent. Under the proposed rule, communication to any telephone number or email address where a call/text recipient could reasonably expect to reach the caller or text initiator to revoke consent would create a presumption that consent has been revoked.

Timing to Honor Requests. The FCC proposes to require callers/text initiators to honor do-not-call and revocation-of-consent requests within 24 hours of receipt.

Revocation Confirmation Text. The FCC wants to adopt a permanent rule that reflects its current policy that a one-time text response to confirm an opt-out request or a revocation-of-consent does not violate the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The response may only include a confirmation of the opt-out. It cannot include any promotional or marketing content or attempt to persuade the text recipient to reconsider an opt-out decision. The FCC is also proposing to codify its policy that a confirmation text can include a request to clarify an opt-out/revocation-of-consent request where a text recipient previously consented to receive multiple types of informational texts from the text initiator. However, unless it receives a response to the contrary from the text recipient, the text initiator must cease all future robocalls and robotexts to the text recipient’s telephone number. Also, a “STOP TEXT” response to a confirmation text cannot be construed to permit the text initiator to send a second text for further confirmation.

Wireless Carrier Calls/Texts to Subscribers. The FCC wants to reverse its prior determination that wireless carriers do not need to obtain the consent of a subscriber to initiate a robocall or robotext to the subscriber’s wireless telephone number. Instead, the FCC wants to make into a rule a “qualified exemption” for such calls and texts where these conditions are met:

  • Robocalls/robotexts are initiated only to an active subscriber number maintained by a wireless service provider.
  • Robocalls/robotexts must state the name and contact information of a wireless service provider at the start of the call.
  • Robocalls/robotexts must not contain telemarketing, solicitation, or advertising materials.
  • Robocalls/robotexts must be concise, one minute or less, and 160 characters or less if text.
  • A wireless service provider may initiate no more than 3 robocalls/robotexts to one wireless telephone number within a 30-day period.
  • A wireless service provider must offer an easy and interactive opt-out mechanism such as voice calls answered by a live person, toll-free numbers, and replying “STOP” to text.
  • A wireless service provider must honor opt-out requests immediately.

These conditions do not apply if a wireless service provider has obtained the prior consent of the subscriber to receive a specific type of robocall/robotext.

For more information about the FCC’s robocall/robotext rule proposals, or the FCC’s regulations governing robocalling in general, contact an attorney in our Privacy, Data Protection, and Cybersecurity practice group.