Have you ever received an annoying phone call from a telemarketer? I'm positive that you have, it's been going on for decades. They always seem to call at just the wrong times too, usually when you're about to sit down with the family for dinner.
One way of battling these irritating calls is to put your phone number on the Do Not Call Registry. However, there's another way spammers can get their message to you and it's possible you could start getting bombarded with them soon.
Why your voicemail inbox might be filling up
Robocalls are automated phone calls with prerecorded messages, usually used for political campaigns and marketing purposes. In an effort to cut down on these annoying calls, the U.S. government implemented the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA).
The TCPA regulates robocalls between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. It also requires the caller to comply with the Do Not Call List. Additionally, under current federal law, political groups and telemarketers are not allowed to send robocalls to cellphones without first obtaining a consumer's written consent.
A telemarketing group is now trying to circumvent these regulations. In March 2017, the company asked the FCC to issue a ruling on the legality of "ringless voicemail." This is when a robocall is sent directly to a consumer's voicemail without causing their phone to ring.
The marketing group argued that since ringless voicemail does not cause disruptions to the consumer's life or cost them delivery charges, they should be exempt from regulations. The FCC has yet to rule on the matter.
What's happening now is, a collection of politicians have sent a letter to the FCC in support of the telemarketing groups' position, stating advertisers and political groups should be allowed to send ringless voicemail without restriction.
If the FCC rules in the telemarketing groups' favor, you most likely will begin receiving these voicemails immediately. At this time there is no way to block these spam voicemails from filling up your inbox once they begin rolling out.
If you don't like the idea of receiving ringless voicemail there's still time to act. Click here to file an informal consumer complaint with the FCC and let your voice be heard.