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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