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Attorney General Josh Stein Urges FCC to Strengthen Rules Against Telemarketing Robocalls and Texts

For Immediate Release:
Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Contact: Nazneen Ahmed

(RALEIGH)  Attorney General Josh Stein today urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to clarify the federal rules requiring telemarketers to obtain consent between an individual consumer and one specific seller or business entity before making telemarketing robocalls and texts. Attorney General Stein joined a coalition of 28 state Attorneys General in urging for rules to better prevent nuisance calls and texts.

“Robocalls and texts are not only annoying, they also put hard-working North Carolinians at risk of being scammed,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “I urge the FCC to clear up these rules to limit the number of telemarketing messages consumers receive.”

The Attorneys General, in their letter, support the FCC’s proposal to formally clarify that National Do Not Call Registry protections apply to text messages.

The FCC is proposing to amend its rule concerning consent to close a so-called “lead generator loophole.”  As stated in the letter, lead generators are entities that collect personal information (like telephone numbers) from consumers and sell it to third parties, who then use that information to solicit consumers to purchase goods or services.

A common lead generation practice is to offer to give the consumer a quote for a good or service online (like insurance products). To receive the quote, the consumer has to agree to receive calls and/or texts from the lead generator’s marketing partners, which often include thousands of different businesses offering numerous different goods or services. If these separate businesses are identified anywhere, it is usually on a separate webpage only accessible via a hyperlink.

The FCC’s proposed amendment adds language to the existing rule to allow a consumer to consent to robocalls and texts from multiple entities, provided the entities are “logically and topically associated” and are all listed on the webpage where the consumer provides consent.

The Attorneys General contend, in their letter, that the FCC’s proposed action could create more ambiguity and that, rather, clarification to existing single seller-to-individual consumer language would be more effective.

Joining Attorney General Stein in the letter are Attorneys General from Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Washington D.C., Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.  A copy of the letter can be found here.


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