Senator Markey Leads Senators in Call to Protect Consumers from “Ringless” Voicemails

Senator Markey is the co-author of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which protects consumers from harassing robocalls

 

Washington (June 14, 2017) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, today led a group of ten senators in a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai urging him to protect consumers from invasive “ringless” voicemails. So-called “ringless” voicemails allow the calling party to leave automated messages in a consumer’s voicemail without the phone actually ringing. 

 

This April, the FCC issued a Public Notice seeking comments on a petition to exempt ringless voicemails from consumer protections established by the 1991 Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). If the petition is granted, telemarketers, debt collectors, and other callers could flood Americans’ voice mailboxes without first receiving express consumer consent. In addition, the National “Do Not Call Registry” protections may not apply, and ringless callers would have no limits on the quantity or duration of the voice messages that they are permitted to leave.

 

“Exempting ringless voicemails from the TCPA’s autodialer protections would allow callers to overwhelm consumers with ringless voice messages without first receiving express consumer consent,” write the senators to Chairman Pai. “Whether by robocall, by robotext, or by ringless voicemail, consumers should have meaningful control over who can and cannot contact their mobile device.”

 

A copy of the letter can be found HERE.

 

Senators signing the letter include Senators Richard Blumenthal (D–Conn.), Patrick Leahy (D–Vt.), Jeffrey A. Merkley (D-Ore.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.).