The Telephone Consumer Protection Act was passed in 1991. The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) rules and regulations implementing the act went into effect on December 20, 1992. This rule is analogous to the rule regulated by the Federal Trade Commission, the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) as set established by the Do-Not-Call Implementation Act (DNCIA, 2003). The latest changes to the FCC’s TCPA go into effect on October 16, 2013.

The rules were recently updated. Regulations were issued by the Federal Communications Commission in February of 2012 with an effective date of October 16, 2013 due to consumer complaints about unwanted prerecorded telemarketing calls and texts, consistently in the top three consumer complaint categories at the FCC in 2011.

According to the agency, artificial, or “robocalls” invade consumer privacy, and can in the case of calls to wireless devices, eat up minutes. A “robocall” is a prerecorded telemarketing message. The new rules reduce regulatory uncertainty and are meant to “maximize consistency” with the other federal agency that regulates calls, the Federal Trade Commission. The rule applies to all autodialed robocalls to residential land lines, and residential and business mobile phones. Moreover, text messaging is also covered under the autodialer definition of the FCC.