All You Need to Know about Telemarketing and Privacy from the FCC

Consumers are growing increasingly concerned about telemarketing and the issue of privacy. They should know that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has rules that protect consumers from telemarketers. The FCC also has rules that restrict the use of subscribers' private information by telephone companies.

Telemarketers: The FCC's telemarketing rules prohibit telephone solicitations made to your home before 8 AM or after 9 PM. They also require telemarketers to provide his or her name, the name of the person or entities on whose behalf the call is being made, and a telephone number or address at which that person or entity may be contacted. The FCC's rules also prohibit the use of prerecorded voice messages (except in certain cases) and they also limit the use of auto dialers.

Under the FCC's rules, you can ask a person or entity placing telephone solicitations to your home to place you on their "do-not-call list." After you make your request, it must be honored for ten years. Go to http://www.fcc.gov/cib/consumerfacts/tcpa.html to see the FCC's new fact sheet on unwanted telephone marketing calls and what you can do to stop them. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is currently considering a proposal to create a national "do-not-call" registry. The FCC shares the FTC's commitment to ensuring that consumers' concerns are addressed by telemarketing rules.

Privacy: Another issue in the news that is also of concern to the FCC is privacy. What does your phone company know about you? How is this information shared, and how can you stop it? These and other questions are answered in our new consumer alert entitled 'What Your Telephone Company Knows About You (And Controlling How They Use It)."  To make sure you know your rights, go to:  http://www.fcc.gov/cib/consumerfacts/phoneaboutyou.html

If you are bothered by telemarketers, have privacy concerns, or have any other type of complaint that you wish to file with the FCC, you are encouraged to do so electronically.  The Commission, like many federal agencies, has been affected by the anthrax-contaminated mail.  Since last October, the U.S. Postal Service ("USPS") has been irradiating certain mail sent to the Commission by first-class mail, USPS Express Mail, and USPS Priority Mail. This process can result in delivery delays and the deterioration of mail. Given the current mail situation, your complaint will be processed more quickly if sent electronically.  For information on filing electronically, see http://www.fcc.gov/cib/complaints.html.