According to the Federal Communications Commission, callers must receive the recipient’s permission before leaving “ringless voicemails.” The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has unanimously concluded that these quiet voicemails are subject to the same Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) provisions that prohibit robocalls without authorization.
Each year, the FCC receives numerous consumer complaints about ringless voicemail. As a result, the Commission has made it clear that robocalls, including ringless voicemail, are unlawful if they are made without the recipient’s prior affirmative consent. This decision took effect on the same day that it was made public, November 21, 2022.
Any non-emergency call made to a wireless telephone number utilizing an automatic telephone dialing system or an artificial or prerecorded voice is now forbidden under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which safeguards customers against unwanted robocalls.
This decision comes five years after All About the Message, LLC (AATM) petitioned the FCC to declare that ringless voicemails are exempt from the TCPA. During the FCC’s comment period, which concluded in 2017, consumer advocacy organizations and state AGs argued that ringless voicemails circumvent the TCPA’s aim of preventing unwanted robocalls. AATM’s petition was withdrawn in 2017 in a single-sentence letter to the FCC, but the subject was left open for the FCC to rule on.
FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said: “Imagine finding robocallers leaving junk voicemails on your phone without it ever having rung. It’s annoying and it’s happening to too many of us. Today we’re taking action to ensure these deceptive practices don’t find a way around our robocall rules and into consumers’ inboxes.”