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Fed up with robocalls? You can help put an end to them.

New FCC rules are aimed at ending these annoying telemarketing tactics

Published: January 2014
She must have received yet another robocall.

At Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, we've been hearing a lot of complaints lately from people who are fed up with robocalls. Thousands of consumers have sent us their stories about these annoying prerecorded calls from companies that pester them morning, noon, and night.

The Do Not Call registry offers tools for you to block unsolicited calls from telemarketers, but you could still get robocalls from sketchy operators that ignore the do-not-call lists.

To help ensure that you only get the calls you actually want, the Federal Communications Commission has instituted some new rules. Among your new rights:

  • A telemarketer will have to get your written consent before it can call or message you. You can give your OK for the company to call through paper or electronic means—Web forms, a telephone key press, or e-mail.
  • Robocalls to your home landline are no longer allowed based solely on an "established business relationship" with you. Simply buying a product or contacting a business with a question no longer gives a company permission to call you.
  • Telemarketers that call will now have to let you immediately opt out of receiving additional calls through an automated menu.

These new rules could help put you in better control over who can call you, on your landline and your wireless devices. But enforcing these rules is challenging, because some of the worst offenders can quickly fold up shop and then reopen to avoid detection.

That’s why we’re asking you to join our campaign to press the government to aggressively enforce these new rules. We will send your personalized message to the people at the FCC and Federal Trade Commission who are charged with helping consumers put a stop to these calls.

If you’re tired of endless calls peddling dubious products, we hope you’ll take action.

This feature is part of a regular series by Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy arm of Consumer Reports. The nonprofit organization advocates for product safety, financial reform, safer food, health reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.

Read other installments of our Policy & Action feature.

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