Menendez Continues Fight to Protect NJans from Annoying Robocalls

Menendez Continues Fight to Protect NJans from Annoying Robocalls


U.S. Senator Bob Menendez and nine Senate colleagues today wrote Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai to urge him to protect consumers from invasive “ringless” voicemails, which allow the calling party to leave automated messages in a consumer’s voicemail without the phone actually ringing.

This April, the FCC issued a Public Notice seeking comments on a petition to exempt ringless voicemails from consumer protections established by the 1991 Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). If the petition is granted, telemarketers, debt collectors, and other callers could flood Americans’ voice mailboxes without first receiving express consumer consent. In addition, the National “Do Not Call Registry” protections may not apply, and ringless callers would have no limits on the quantity or duration of the voice messages that they are permitted to leave.

“Exempting ringless voicemails from the TCPA’s autodialer protections would allow callers to overwhelm consumers with ringless voice messages without first receiving express consumer consent,” wrote the senators to Chairman Pai. “Whether by robocall, by robotext, or by ringless voicemail, consumers should have meaningful control over who can and cannot contact their mobile device.”

A copy of the letter can be found HERE.

Sen. Menendez co-sponsored the Help Americans Never Get Unwanted Phone calls (HANGUP) Act which repeals Section 301 of the Budget Act of 2015 that exempts callers collecting debt owed or guaranteed by the federal government from key provisions of the TCPA. 

In addition to Menendez, the letter was signed by Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) Richard Blumenthal (D–Conn.), Patrick Leahy (D–Vt.), Jeffrey A. Merkley (D-Ore.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.).