WUFT News

Changes to Law Restrict Unsolicited Cellular Calls and Text Messages

By on October 16th, 2013

North Central Floridians will worry less about receiving unsolicited text messages or phone calls to their cellphones starting Oct. 16.

Congress, the Federal Communications Commission and many states have already reduced the volume of unsolicited messages and phone calls consumers receive, said Brian Buckley, litigation partner at the Fenwick & West law firm.

But changes to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act will make it even less likely for people to receive them.

Bed Bath and Beyond is one of many businesses that sent out text messages informing customers they had to re-opt in to continue receiving mobile messages and even offered incentives to those who did.

Amber Dawson / WUFT News

Bed Bath & Beyond is one of many businesses that sent out text messages informing customers they had to apply to continue receiving mobile messages, even offering incentives to those who did.

“The primary goal of the new changes is to make it more difficult for companies to send autodialed or prerecorded messages (either calls or texts) to consumers’ cellular phones without their consent,” he said.

The changes, brought about by the FCC, affect businesses that use mobile advertising. These businesses are required to have consumers give written consent to receiving text messages and phone calls. If the business fails to do so, they can face damages up to $500 per call or text message sent.

For those who have already opted into mobile advertising with certain businesses, you must sign up again to continue receiving those messages, or you will be removed from businesses’ messaging lists.

The new changes to the law were introduced in early 2012, but became effective Oct. 16, Buckley said.

One reason these changes were made to the law is the way some people view receiving unsolicited messages.

“Consumers continue to complain about unsolicited calls and texts, particularly to cell phones, because consumers are often charged for such messages,” Buckley said.  “The new rules are just the next step in the FCC’s effort to require consumers to clearly and expressly consent before receiving such messages.”

Dominic Patete, 20, of Gainesville, said he has reason to be annoyed by unsolicited text messages.

“Honestly, I can’t say how many telemarketing phone calls and random text messages businesses send me in one week,” Patete said. “They always contact me sending me coupons and specials about things I don’t even want.

“I’m just happy to know something is being done to stop it. My phone company charges for every text, so I shouldn’t have to pay for something I didn’t ask for.”

Customers who are subscribed to mobile text messages from different businesses received messages Monday and Tuesday informing them of the law’s changes and their requirement to respond if they want to continue receiving mobile text messages.

Sara Levy, 19, of Gainesville, said she isn’t too bothered by unsolicited phone calls and text messages because she can just ignore them.

“I’m a very calm person, so getting those calls doesn’t really upset me, but I understand why it does for some people,” Levy said. “I am subscribed to a lot of opt-in text messages and never thought twice about how other people see them until I heard they were changing the law because of them.”

A representatives from Bed Bath & Beyond, a company that uses these texting methods, said she would not comment on the changes.


This entry was posted in Business and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Business

Bill Bryson at Crane Ramen in downtown Gainesville.

Entrepreneur’s Local Business Ventures Stem From Worldwide Travels

Local entrepreneur Bill Bryson discusses his latest business venture, Crane Ramen, a craft noodle shop that opened in downtown Gainesville in December. Bryson and Crane Ramen co-owner, Fred Brown, saw a market for a ramen restaurant in Gainesville, and they get most of their food from local vendors.


One of the two Thrift 5 stores owned by Pledge 5 in Gainesville. Pledge 5 budgeted the 2014 Gator Stompin' event off projected attendance increases and revenue from the thrift stores, but was unable to meet the expected numbers.

Gator Stompin’ Looking To Get Back On Track With Payback Program

The Pledge 5 Foundation is in debt with local businesses in Gainesville. The organization owes more than $100,000, but it created a program, so that they can pay back the money they owe.


Inmate labor saved taxpayers more than $9 million in 2013. The stoves project was just a small piece of a large statewide operation.

Prisoner Labor Saves Taxpayer Money

In exchange for a reduced sentence, some Marion County inmates participate in a prison work program. The program has produced much of the jail’s infrastructure, saving taxpayers more than $9 million in 2013.


Alex Skobel and his girlfriend Loree Schulson share a moment in one of the Skobel Homes properties. Schulson joked she was trying to steal Skobel's warmth while touring the home on a cold Sunday.

UF Graduate Builds Future Out Of Recession

The economic recession in 2007 led to the unemployment of millions of Americans. However, one University of Florida graduate turned the downturn into opportunity.


Hitchcock's Markets is currently the only grocery store in Alachua.

Alachua Residents Ready For New Grocery

Publix is moving to the small city of Alachua and will compete with the only other grocery store there called Hitchcock’s Markets. Residents are excited to see more diversity in their grocery shopping.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments