New restrictions require consent to send robo-calls

An act that's banned "robo-calls" without consent since 1991 will now say that consent must be in writing.

"It's an update to an existing law, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which has been around for a long time," law expert Steve Rafferty explained.

New restrictions went into effect last week requiring businesses to get written permission before they can receive "robo-calls", and it will apply to auto-dial and auto-texts as well.

Some companies are already ready for the new law, adding language to online request for information forms that gives them permission to call both land lines and cellular lines from automated systems.

Rafferty noted that burying consent in the fine print will be forbidden.

"It can't be hidden. It must be clear and conspicuous on the page," he said

Calls without consent carry a penalty of $500 to $1500 each, so consumers could take rogue marketers to court. Rafferty noted that a more likely scenario could be a class-action suit.

This new law is generating a type of new business designed to protect clients should they get dragged into court. The companies can show that the consumer did give written consent, and even show where and when.

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