Federal regulators are making it harder for telemarketers to interrupt dinner and eat up cell phone minutes.
The Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday unanimously approved rules that require “robocall” services — pre-recorded and automated marketing calls — to first gain written permission from consumers before blasting them with surveys, promotions and ads over landline and cell phones.
The agency said political campaigns, charities and informational services about school closings aren’t covered by the rules. The FTC and FCC say the calls aren’t considered commercial marketing and are not covered by federal rules or applied to the national Do Not Call registry.
The agency said it is eliminating a loophole that allowed telemarketers to call users who have bought services or products from the firm.
Telemarketers will also have to provide ways for consumers who pick up the robocalls to opt-out of future calls by the marketer.
“Consumers by the thousands have complained to us, letting us know that they remain unhappy with having their privacy invaded and their time wasted by these unwanted calls,” FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a statement.