March 25, 2019
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A company seeking to exempt ringless voicemails from rules that govern the use of robocalls has withdrawn the petition it submitted to the FCC.
A marketing firm called All About the Message filed the petition in March, asking the FCC to declare that ringless voicemails aren’t actually calls. The petition contends that because the voicemails don’t cause phones to ring, they don’t constitute calls. Rather than making a call and then waiting to leave a message, ringless voicemails allow marketers to send messages directly to wireless subscribers’ voicemail boxes directly through the carrier’s network infrastructure. The FCC had sought comment on the petition from the public, but now the petition has been withdrawn by attorneys representing All About the Message.
In a one-sentence letter to the FCC, the firm gave no reason for the decision.
“All About the Message, LLC, by its attorneys hereby withdraws its Petition for Declaratory Ruling filed in the above-referenced proceeding,” the letter says.
The ringless voicemail concept has drawn criticism from a wide range of groups. Earlier this month, a group of Democratic members of Congress sent a letter to the FCC asking the commission to deny the petition because it would open the door to abuse.
“Should this petition be granted, telemarketers, debt collectors, and other callers could bombard Americans with unwanted voicemails, leaving consumers with no way to block or stop these intrusive messages,” the letter says. “Exempting ringless voicemails from the TCPA’s autodialer protections would allow callers to overwhelm consumers with with ringless voicemail messages without first obtaining consumer consent.
“Whether by robocall, by robotext, or by ringless voicemail, consumers should have meaningful control over who can and cannot contact their mobile device.”
If the FCC had granted the petition, it would have allowed marketers and political candidates to deliver ringless voicemail messages without consumers’ consent.
CC By-sa license image from Harmish Khambaita