In a unanimous decision, the FCC has determined that ringless voicemails (RVM) are covered by the TCPA.
FCC chair Jessica Rosenworcel had proposed to extend the TCPA to include ringless voicemails in a February proposal, reasoning that RVM “can be annoying, invasive, and can lead to fraud like other robocalls—so it should face the same consumer protection rules.”
This week’s ruling, taking immediate effect as of November 21, 2022, made that proposal official.
In a press release of the Declaratory Ruling, the Commission wrote:
The Federal Communications Commission today clarified that callers must obtain a consumer’s consent before delivering “ringless voicemail,” a message left in a consumer’s mailbox without ringing their cell phone. The unanimous decision by the full Commission finds that ringless voicemails are, in fact, “calls” that require consumers’ prior express consent.
For those who have been following litigation activity in the post-Facebook v. Duguid environment, the FCC ruling should probably come as no surprise.
During a highly informative webinar we detailed last year, TCPAWorld’s Eric J. Troutman discussed how courtroom activity was being dominated by pre-recorded call cases—including a large number of cases treating RVM as a type of pre-recorded call that triggers the TCPA’s consent statute. So, just as TCPAWorld’s Puja J. Amin noted this week, the FCC and courts are now in unanimous agreement about ringless voicemails requiring consent.
“….ringless voicemail is a form of robocall and is illegal if the caller did not have the consumer’s prior express consent.”
At call centers with a proactive and robust TCPA compliance strategy, the ruling will likely change little about how they operate. However, it nevertheless emphasizes the importance of developing a strong foundation of consent-based marketing and omnichannel outreach that can be adapted to meet the ever-changing needs of today’s regulatory environment.
Convoso recommends using strategic voicemail strategies to compliant leads that incorporates a cadence of Smart Voicemail Drops. Unlike ringless voicemail, smart voicemail drops are part of a multi-channel outreach program that allows call centers to automate customized messages throughout a cadence of contact attempts.
DISCLAIMER: The information on this page and related links is provided for general education purposes only and is not legal advice. Convoso does not guarantee the accuracy or appropriateness of this information to your situation. You are solely responsible for using Convoso’s services in a legally compliant way and should consult your legal counsel for compliance advice. Any quotes are solely the views of the quoted person and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Convoso.
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