FCC approves rule requiring written consent before robocalls are made

18 December 2023- Using input from a coalition of Attorneys General, led by Attorney General Michelle Henry, the Federal Communications Commission has amended a rule governing telemarketing communications, requiring individual businesses to obtain written consent from consumers before sending robotexts and making robocalls.

Under the prior rule, lead generating businesses misled consumers who believed they were consenting to a single company’s telecommunications, only to receive, sometimes, hundreds of unwanted calls and text messages from industry competitors.

The FCC’s new rule requires “one-to-one consent,” which prevents lead generators from obtaining consent on behalf of multiple businesses or sellers. Attorney General Henry led a bipartisan coalition of 29 Attorneys General in filing a letter with the FCC in June, urging the commission to enact the one-to-one consent requirement.

“Robocalls are more than mere nuisances — they are disruptors by professional scammers who pressure consumers to commit to purchase, or agree to, sham products or services,” Attorney General Henry said. “I am pleased the FCC listened to our united message to protect consumers from an onslaught of unwanted calls and text messages.”

A common lead generation practice is to offer to give the consumer a quote for a good or service online (like insurance products), and in order to receive the quote, the consumer has to agree to receive calls and/or texts from the lead generator’s marketing partners. This often includes thousands of different businesses offering numerous different goods or services. Businesses are identified usually on a separate webpage only accessible via a hyperlink rather than listed outright.