AGs: Ringless Robocalls Are Still Robocalls, Shouldn’t Be Allowed

Ashlee Kieler

The Republican National Committee and the lobbyists at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce might think that “ringless” robocalls — automated, prerecorded phone calls that go straight to voicemail — are just fine, but the top legal advisors in several states believe the opposite. Now they’re urging the Federal Communications Commission to oppose a petition that would allow telemarketers to use them.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, and Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear filed comments [PDF] with the FCC asking the agency to resist a potential change to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) that could open the floodgates for another type of annoying robocall.

The TCPA places restrictions on the use of prerecorded and autodialed calls to wireless phones, limiting their use to emergencies and cases where the recipient has given prior consent to receiving the robocall.

Despite this, a company called All About The Message (AATM) filed a petition [PDF] last week seeking an exemption for ringless robocalls that deliver voicemails to a phone without causing it to ring.

The petition to the FCC asks it to declare that such direct-to-voicemail messages fall outside the umbrella of the TCPA, or to grant the company a waiver to deliver these messages without fear of the penalties that could result from violating the TCPA.

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