This election year, you may have experienced an increase in calls and/or texts from - or about - political campaigns. You're not alone. So, it's no surprise that we get asked: Does the FCC have rules about political robocalls calls and robotexts?
The answer is, yes, we do. Here's an overview of the current FCC rules and how they may apply to calls or texts you've received:
FCC restrictions on political campaign-related robocalls or robotexts vary based upon whether a call is delivered to a landline telephone, a cell phone, or certain protected telephone lines such as emergency or toll-free lines, or lines serving hospitals or similar facilities.
Political campaign-related autodialed or prerecorded voice calls are allowed when made to landline telephones, even without prior express consent. However, autodialed live calls or text messages and prerecorded voice messages are not allowed to cell phones, pagers, or other mobile devices without the called party's prior express consent. They're also not allowed to protected phone lines such as emergency or toll-free lines, or lines serving hospitals or similar facilities, unless made with the called party's prior express consent.
Robotexts - text messages generated through autodialing - are considered a type of call and fall under all robocall rules. As text messages go to mobile phones, they require the called party's prior express consent if they are generated using autodialing. However, political text messages can be sent without prior consent of the intended recipient if the sender does not use autodialing technology to send the text.
All prerecorded voice message calls, campaign-related and otherwise, must include certain identification information:
- The identity of the business, individual, or other entity initiating the call (and if a business or corporate entity, the entity's official business name) must be stated clearly at the beginning of the message.
- Also, the telephone number of the calling party must be provided either during or after the message.
For additional information, consumer tips and FAQs about robocalls and robotexts, along with web resources about call blocking, visit fcc.gov/robocalls.
If you feel you've received an illegal robocall or robotext, you can file a complaint with the FCC. Information about the FCC's informal complaint process, including how to file a complaint, and what happens after a complaint is filed, is available in the FCC Complaint Center FAQ.