New federal regulations making it mandatory for businesses to obtain “prior express written consent” before contacting customers via wireless device, by call or text message, are set to take effect next week, but information about the rule is scarce at best.
The rules change, which was passed in February 2012 and takes effect. Oct. 16, also says that companies should make it clear to the customer how his/her number will be used.
These changes severely alter the playing field for telemarketers and companies with outbound call centers. Firms that don’t comply face hefty fines.
My colleague, Maria Minsker, posted details of the new regs in a separate blog post yesterday.
Many businesses, naturally, are confused with how to obtain a consent agreement and have other questions about the changes, but due to the government shutdown, cannot find answers. The Federal Communications Commission’s Web site is down, with the following explanation:
“We regret the disruption, but during the federal government-wide shutdown, the FCC is limited to performing duties that are immediately necessary for the safety of life or the protection of property. FCC online systems will not be available until further notice.”
I guess the one consolation is that the agency will not be around to enforce the laws either.