The FTC's hammer comes down on robocalls

Annoying low-interest-rate credit card telemarketers must now get written permission before calling us. Good luck!

Published September 1, 2009 3:02PM (EDT)

There is a God. Or, even more controversially, I can now present you with evidence of a working U.S. government. Starting today, September 1, telemarketers who want to bombard Americans s with robocalls inviting them to snap up low interest credit cards or bogus car warranties, must first obtain written permission from consumers who want to receive such calls.


The news comes from the FTC, (found via Mark Thoma).

"American consumers have made it crystal clear that few things annoy them more than the billions of commercial telemarketing robocalls they receive every year," said Jon Leibowitz, Chairman of the FTC. "Starting September 1, this bombardment of prerecorded pitches, senseless solicitations, and malicious marketing will be illegal. If consumers think they're being harassed by robocallers, they need to let us know, and we will go after them."

Jon Leibowitz! Perhaps guilty of alliteration abuse, but still, my new hero.

The new rule does not cover "politicians, banks, telephone carriers, and most charitable organizations," so it's a bit too soon too expect total telemarketing peace. But I guarantee you, the next robocall pushing a carpet-cleaning that comes my way is getting reported directly to the FTC.

Here's the number: 1-888-382-1222.

By Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

MORE FROM Andrew Leonard

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

How The World Works