States moving to make Ringless Voicemails illegal under the TCPA

No your phone didn't ring. Can Annoying Robocall Voicemails Be Stopped?

Updated on Author: Sergei Lemberg

Updated on Author: Sergei Lemberg

Have you ever found yourself listening to a voice message you received even though the phone never rang only to find out it was a business trying to sell you something? You might have pondered whether or not this was legal if you’re on the Do Not Call Registry.

What Are Ringless Voicemails?

Ringless Voicemails are the latest attempt by telemarketers and debt collectors to reach the masses. The calls are quietly deposited through a backdoor, directly into a voicemail box — to the surprise and (presumably) irritation of the recipient, who cannot do anything to block them.

Telemarketing concerns previously petitioned the Federal Communications, arguing that because the phone didn’t ring, they weren’t violating Do Not Call Registry. Regulations often struggle to keep up with technology, but in this case, it was the negative publicity from the petition that forced the party to withdraw it before the FCC made an official ruling.

Can You Block Ringless Voicemails?

People are upset. And they should be. States argue that the robotic nature of the ringless voicemail makes call-blocking apps useless while also putting customers at the mercy of these companies who can send out massive amounts of these types of messages daily. This means these companies can send out messages and there’s nothing you can do to block them.

Three states have already complained about the petition issued last year from All About the Message, a telemarketing concern, the Palm Beach Post reported. And in Naples, Florida, a car dealer settled outside of court after a consumer filed a lawsuit according to a Florida Senate staff analysis. People are angry, and they don’t want to be pestered by ringless calls when they’re already on the Do Not Call Registry.

It’s important to point out though that charitable groups, schools, people conducting surveys, and non-profits do not have to comply with the Do Not Call Registry due to the nature of their intentions.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey pointed out that, “Granting companies a free pass to push ringless voice messages to consumers’ phones just adds more robocalls and causes significant financial harm to those who are charged for checking their messages.”

Debt Collectors and Telemarketers Petition FCC for TCPA Rules Exemption

In a petition to the FCC, members from the All About the Message Association claimed, “The act of depositing a voicemail on a voicemail service without dialing a consumers’ cellular telephone line does not result in the kind of disruptions to a consumer’s life, — dead air calls, calls interrupting consumers at inconvenient times or delivery charges to consumers.”

There are still issues with receiving voiceless messages despite this Florida law. Parties from outside the US can still make these types of calls through the internet. And scammers can attempt to steal their information or money from customers through these types of messages. This means that there’s plenty of other annoyances out there without companies trying to find ways around the Do Not Call Registry.

However, the Republican National Committee fears that this ruling could affect First Amendment rights to free speech. They see that the ringless voicemails “do not constitute a call” and argued that these types of calls should be allowed, filing a brief with the FCC. But the negative publicity already experiences by the previous petition illustrates how the public feels about these types of calls, regardless of whatever political consequences they may stir up.

What Can You Do Stop Ringless Voicemails from Getting in Your Inbox?

If a debt collector or telemarketer has been hounding you, call 844-685-9200 ☎ NOW for a free, no-obligation case evaluation with one of our representatives. Our attorneys have experience fighting debt collectors and telemarketers and in standing up for consumers. If a debt collector or telemarketer has violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, you’re entitled to file suit in federal court and could be awarded up to $1,500 and other damages.

Sergei Lemberg

About the Author:

Sergei Lemberg is an attorney focusing on consumer law, class actions related to automotive issues, and personal injury litigation. With nearly two decades of experience, his areas of practice include Lemon Law (vehicle defects), Debt Collection Harassment, TCPA (illegal robocalls and texts), Fair Credit Reporting Act, Overtime claims, Personal Injury cases, and Class Actions. He has consistently been recognized as the nation's "most active consumer attorney." In 2020, Mr. Lemberg represented Noah Duguid before the United States Supreme Court in the landmark case Duguid v. Facebook. He is also the author of "Defanging Debt Collectors," a guide that empowers consumers to fight back against debt collectors and prevail, as well as "Lemon Law 101: The Laws That Lemon Dealers Don't Want You to Know."

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  • Steve

    These are OUR phones. We PAY for them and the service to them. WE have the RIGHT to prevent what we DONT WANT. This is the bottom line. It’s ours and we have the RIGHT.

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