The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced last year that new rules regulating Telemarketer Sales will essentially ban recorded telemarketing message placed by automatic dialing announcing devices, effective September 1, 2009.

As of December 1, 2008, all prerecorded telemarketing calls must - at the very start of the message - provide an "opt-out" option (pushing a key or a voice-activated instruction). Through September 1, 2010, businesses may continue to make these prerecorded calls to consumers with whom they have an established business relationship. After this time, businesses cannot make these calls to consumers without their express permission.

Established Business Relationship

By purchasing something from the company, you established a business relationship with the company. As a result, even if you put your number on the National Do Not Call Registry, that company may call you for up to 18 months after your last purchase or delivery from it, or your last payment to it, unless you ask the company not to call again. In that case, the company must honor your request not to call. If they subsequently call you again, they may be subject to a fine of up to $11,000.

An established business relationship with a company also will be created if you make an inquiry to the company, or submit an application to it. This kind of established business relationship exists for three months after the inquiry or application. During this time, the company can call you.

If you make a specific request to that company not to call you, however, then the company may not call you, even if you have an established business relationship with that company.

Exemptions

Health care-related calls (including reminders to pick up your prescription or keep your dentist appointment) are exempt. Charitable solicitation calls to members of, or previous donors to, the nonprofit are exempt, though they must adhere to the opt-out requirement.

Automated calls from political campaigns are not covered by the new FTC rules. According to the FTC, "political calls are not placed for the purpose of inducing purchases of goods or services, and therefore are not 'telemarketing' within the meaning of the Telemarketer Sales Rules."