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FCC Proposes Declaratory Ruling Stating That Ringless Voicemails Are Robocalls

The entrance to the FCC offices in Washington, D.C.

Posted by Chris Alarie on Wed, 02/02/2022 - 12:35

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel announced a new proposed Declaratory Ruling and Order that would affirm that ringless voicemail (RVM) technology is subject to the same Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) consent requirements as prerecorded calls. If enacted, it would find that “ringless voicemails are, in fact, ‘calls’ that require consumers’ prior express consent.” The press release does not say when the FCC plans to vote on the proposed order and the current agenda for their February 18 meeting does not include anything about RVM. However, it is likely that the full commission will vote to approve the order at some point.

The proposed rule is in response to a petition filed by All About the Message asking the FCC to arrive at, essentially, the opposite conclusion “that delivery of a message directly to a consumer’s cell phone voicemail is not a call protected by the TCPA.” The campaign of former Senator David Perdue had previously filed, and later withdrawn, a similar petition. The FCC’s proposed position that RVM is a call and should be subjected to the consent requirements of prerecorded calls is consistent with how courts have ruled on the issue.