FCC Affirms Three-Call Limit for Robocalls to Residential Lines

On Tuesday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced an order affirming a three-call limit to residential lines for robocalls, as well as clarifying some recipient consent rules.

The order granted some petitioner requests to revisit prior agency actions, with the FCC commenting that its decisions preserve consumer privacy while allowing callers to engage in important communications with the public.

The petitioners, of nearly 100 individuals and entities that submitted comment, were ACA International, the Edison Electric Institute, the Cargo Airline Association, and the American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management (collectively ACA) and separately, the Enterprise Communications Advocacy Coalition (ECAC). 

They requested that the FCC revisit several 2020 actions implemented as part of the Pallone-Thune Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act (TRACED Act), a law whose goal is stemming the nationwide tide of consumer robocalling.

Actions taken included “limiting the number of exempted calls that can be made to residential lines; requiring that callers making exempt calls allow consumers to opt out of future exempt calls; and codifying in its rules the existing exemptions for certain types of calls to wireless numbers, including calls by package delivery companies, financial institutions, prison inmate calling services, and healthcare providers.”

This week, the FCC reconsidered its prior order and granted the petitioners’ request to allow exempted callers like package delivery companies, financial institutions, inmate phone service providers, and certain healthcare callers, the option of obtaining either oral or written consent if they wish to make more calls than the numerical limits. 

The agency declined, however, to revise the three-call limit on exempt non-telemarketing calls to residential lines, which one petitioner argued was arbitrary and unnecessary. The order called the decisions “part of our ongoing work of combating unwanted robocalls while permitting legitimate callers to deliver information consumers have consented to receive.”