The FCC has unanimously found that callers must obtain consumers’ prior express consent before delivering “ringless voicemails,” messages delivered to consumers’ mailboxes without ringing their cell phones.  The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) protects consumers from unwanted robocalls and prohibits making non-emergency calls using an automatic telephone dialing system or an artificial or pre-recorded voice to a wireless telephone number without express consent.  The Commission has clarified that ringless voicemail is a form of robocall and thus illegal if the caller does not have a consumer’s prior express consent. 

The FCC has issued a Declaratory Ruling and Order denying a petition filed by All About the Message, LLC, which asked the Commission to find that delivery of a message directly to a consumer’s cell phone voicemail is not a call protected by the TCPA.