California has no-nonsense rules for political robocalls. The California Public Utilities Code states that robocalls must begin with a real person, and that person should immediately inform you of the reason behind the call. They should then ask for your permission to play the recording.
This sounds like a nice experience. Unfortunately, most robocalls in California don’t do the dance.
When are political robocalls legal?
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act is in place to regulate and restrict all robocalls. Telemarketers must follow a strict set of guidelines to stay inside legal bounds. In addition, California bans robocalls unless you have an existing relationship with the caller. Even then, the prerecording can only start after you give permission to the person on the line.
Spotting the loopholes
Out-of-state call centers don’t necessarily need to follow state laws. Politicians know this. Most of them operate from various states, and each state has some of their own rules. Since campaigners are calling from different states, they can be immune to wrath of state officials. As a result, you might receive robocalls that skip over the necessary introduction and dive straight into the agenda. This can leave California residents feeling angry and violated.
What can be done?
Registering your number on the National Do Not Call list is a good start when working around legal telemarketing calls. However, it does not always protect you against unwanted political robocalls. Political parties don’t have to stop calling when you ask, and they don’t have to maintain a do not call list.
On the bright side, most robocalls are only legal to landline phones. Cellphone users often avoid the annoyance, unless organizations find a way around it. If that happens, blocking applications are available for download.
If you feel like an organization’s robocalls are breaking state or federal laws, be sure to consult a lawyer. There’s a possibility that others are noticing the same thing, and a lawsuit may need to be filed.