Washington, DC -- You should start getting fewer of those annoying "robocalls" at home soon.
Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission approved tougher rules giving consumers additional protection against unwanted autodialed or prerecorded calls to home phone lines.
"We have gotten thousands of complaints," said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. "Consumers were still getting robocalls they don't want and shouldn't get."
New rules will require telemarketers to get written consent before making such calls. Even though Congress in 2008 passed legislation making Do Not Call permanent, some telemarketers have continued to make unsolicited calls because of loopholes in the law.
Under the new FCC rules, telemarketers must get consent before calling home phones, even if the consumer hasn't included their number on the Do Not Call registry. Current rules already prohibit such calls to cellphones without consent.
Robocall telemarketers use predictive technology to automatically dial thousands of homes simultaneously and connect live representatives with call recipients. Often, consumers hear nothing when they pick up the phone because there's no representative available.
Previously, companies that consumers already had done business with could robocall them, but that exemption will be removed under the new rules. Other new provisions require telemarketers to give consumers a quick way to end the call and automatically add their number to telemarketers' Do Not Call lists.
Not covered by the new rules: robocalls from schools and other non-profit organizations and political groups, because they are considered informational. Those calls cannot be made without consent to wireless phones, however.
The FCC didn't say exactly when the new rules go into effect, but a spokesman told WFMY News 2 you can expect to see them enforced within the next few months.