Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

The agency that brought you the enormously popular “Do Not Call” registry today announced new rules banning “robocalls” from telemarketers.

Starting September 2009, businesses can only interrupt your dinner with prerecorded sales messages if you've given your written permission. It doesn’t even matter if you’re on the Do Not Call list or whether you’ve done business with the company.

It gets even better for consumers who would rather not hear the phone ring. Starting this December, telemarketers must give you an easy way to opt out of receiving future calls – such as a voice prompt or pressing a button on your phone.

The Federal Trade Commission announced the changes today. Ironically, the changes were prompted by a telemarketer’s request that the FTC cut the industry some slack and allow prerecorded calls to current or previous customers. Consumers huffed and sent nearly 14,000 complaints to the FTC.

Fundraisers soliciting on behalf of charities can still call you, although they must provide the “opt-out” mechanism. Political calls, which are already exempt from the “Do Not Call” list, aren’t covered by the new rules.

The Direct Marketing Association issued a statement that the ban could increase costs for companies and, as a result, consumers may pay more for goods.

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