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New rules restrict telemarketing calls to your mobile

"Hi, who's this? Not a telemarketer? Great! Let's chat!"

New Federal Communications Commission rules on telemarketing take effect today. The rules are designed to cut down on marketing calls -- especially to cell phones. The regulations require telemarketers to get written consent from consumers before calling their cell phones with automatic dialing systems. The new rules also apply to text messages from marketers. Attorney David Klein advises telecom companies. He says the FCC is trying to tip the balance of power toward consumers.

“They’re really trying to put the power back to the consumer and take it away from telemarketers who are not complying with the various telemarketing laws,” Klein says.

Klein also says there are exceptions. Your wireless carrier can still call or message you, as can your doctor’s office and political pollsters. But there’s a big hole in the rules. They don’t apply to international telemarketers. 

“The international guys, they come at us with machine guns blaring at us,” says telecom analyst Jeff Kagan. “We pull out a six shooter and pop off a couple of them here and there but it’s not going to solve the problem.”

And, Kagan says, there’s not a lot of technology around that can block those international calls and texts.  

About the author

Nancy Marshall-Genzer is a senior reporter for Marketplace based in Washington, D.C. covering daily news.
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The problem with this legislation is it doesn't really stop those who are breaking the law to begin with.

I think the law needs to force mobile carriers to allow easy blocking of numbers at no additional cost to the consumers. Right now I have to pay extra to get AT&T to block phone numbers and it's a limited number of numbers as well.

I can't begin to tell you how many scam robo-calls I get from "Ann at account services" on a weekly or daily basis. 95% of the time it's from a different number. Same message, same deal anytime I push one to get more information and let them know I'm on the Federal and State Do Not Call Lists. Of course they hang up without any apology or anything else at that point.

Thankfully Apple and iOS 7 now lets me block those numbers directly from my phone without any cost. And I'm glad to block away.

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