Automatic telephone dialing systems, also known as autodialers, generate a lot of consumer complaints. Autodialers produce, store, and dial telephone numbers using a random or sequential number generator. Autodialers are usually used to place artificial (computerized) or prerecorded voice calls. Autodialers and any artificial or prerecorded voice messages may not be used to contact numbers assigned to any emergency telephone line, the telephone line of any guest or patient room at a hospital, health care facility, cellular telephone service, or other radio common carrier service. Calls using autodialers or artificial or prerecorded voice messages may be placed to businesses, although the FCC’s rules prohibit the use of autodialers in a way that ties up two or more lines of a multi-line business at the same time.
If an autodialer is used to deliver an artificial or prerecorded voice message, that message must state, at the beginning, the identity of the business, individual, or other entity initiating the call. During or after the message, the caller must give the telephone number (other than that of the autodialer or prerecorded message player that placed the call) or address of the business, other entity, or individual that made the call. It may not be a 900 number or any other number for which charges exceed local or long distance transmission charges. Autodialers that deliver a recorded message must release the called party’s telephone line within 5 seconds of the time that the calling system receives notification that the called party’s line has hung up.