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Robocalls prohibited unless you opt in

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WASHINGTON (9/9/09)--Say goodbye to annoying, prerecorded commercial telemarketing calls--commonly referred to as robocalls. As of Sept. 1, most robocalls are banned unless the telemarketer has your written permission to make them (Federal Trade Commission, Aug. 27). The ban is part of amendments to the Federal Trade Commission’s Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR), and it applies whether or not you previously have done business with the seller. Telemarketers who violate the new rule will face penalties of up to $16,000 per call. Note that some robocalls are not covered by the TSR. You still may receive robocalls associated with:
* Purely “information” recorded messages that don’t try to sell you anything, such as flight cancellations, deliveries, and school delays; * Debt collection; * Politicians; * Financial institutions; * Telephone carriers; * Most charitable organizations; and * Health care.
If you receive a robocall covered by the TSR but you haven’t agreed to it in writing, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission by visiting the donotcall.gov Web site or calling 888-382-1222. For more information, see “Read Fine Print to Avoid Subscribing to a Scam” in Home & Family Finance Resource Center.