FCC Rules on Prerecorded Calls to Cell Phones
June 14, 2012
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued rules that will allow institutions, with prior consent, to continue using recorded messages and autodialers to send university communications to cellular phones.
Colleges and universities often use prerecorded messages to communicate efficiently with students. While the final rules tightened the requirements for telemarketing calls made to mobile telephones, existing rules allowing written or oral consent were maintained for calls that do not include solicitations. No consent is required for calls made to landline telephones.
In 2010, NACUBO, along with the Coalition of Higher Education Assistance Organizations (COHEAO) and the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), submitted comments to the FCC on proposed rules implementing the Telephone and Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) that would potentially limit the ability of colleges and universities to reach students and others via cellular phones. The intent of the proposed rules was to have the TCPA regulations mirror Federal Trade Commission rules on telemarketing.
NACUBO was concerned with a provision of the proposed rules that would have required institutions to obtain express written consent from students to contact them on their cell phones using an autodialer. The final rules recently issued do not contain that provision. The FCC leaves it to the caller “to determine, when making an autodialed or prerecorded non-telemarketing call to a wireless number, whether to rely on oral or written consent in complying with the statutory consent requirement.” NACUBO pointed out that student communication preferences have changed, with two-thirds of students today having only a cell phone.
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