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Are Ringless Voicemail Drops Legal or Not?

Are Voicemail Drops Legal?

Ringless voicemail drops have become popular in recent years due to telemarketers, debt creditors, and real estate dealers dropping pre-recorded voice messages into recipients’ voicemail inboxes without causing their telephones to ring. This technology has generated different reactions and complaints from clients, with some viewing it as an invasion of privacy and others having no problem with it.
The legality of ringless voicemail is an arguable problem with differing opinions and no clear instructions from official regulatory bodies like the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). REI Marketing Pro will explore ringless voicemail, how it works, is ringless voicemail legal, and the current regulatory system.

What Are Ringless Voicemail Drops?

A ringless voicemail drop is a pre-recorded voice message directly sent into someone’s voicemail inbox without affecting their telephone’s ability to ring or offering any sort of notification that a call has been received. This allows real estate investors to deliver voicemail messages without setting up a traditional phone call.
A Ringless voicemail platform like Slyboardcast, Click Send, and Smarter Contact utilizes unique laptop-based dialing technology that recognizes when voicemail systems have picked up. After that, these tools send a pre-recorded audio file message to the person’s voicemail box. This all occurs in seconds without causing the recipient’s phone to make a sound.

Is Ringless Voicemail Legal or Not?

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The legality of ringless voicemail is in a gray area without a definitive answer. Multiple lawsuits are available regarding the voicemail drops, with conflicting rulings from courts and differing legal interpretations from professional regulatory bodies like the FCC.
Supporters of ringless voicemail argue that it is legal because it does not represent a “call” underneath the definitions of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which is the primary law regulating telemarketing practices inside the United States. Since a ringless voicemail drop no longer motivates the recipient’s cellphone to ring and create a transmitted audible voice factor, the argument is that it does not meet the e legal criteria of a call or violates do-not-call guidelines.
Opponents argue that ringless voicemail still represents an unwanted attempt to contact clients without their consent and approval. They view it as a way for companies to bypass and avoid consumer protection laws by exploiting criminal loopholes related to the technical information of the way calls are described.

What Does The TCPA Say About Ringless Voicemail?

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) is a federal law that was passed in 1991 to restrict uninvited telemarketing practices and cover consumer privacy rights. Some key things the TCPA restricts and regulates include:
  • Prohibiting the use of automatic telephone dialing systems (ATDS) to call or send texts to mobile telephones without consent
  • Restrict prerecorded or artificial voice messages
  • Companies should maintain an internal do-not-call list
  • Requiring caller ID records to be displayed
Many telemarketers and agencies say that Ringless voicemails are not phone calls, but TCPA defines a call as “any voice call, regardless of transmission technology.”
Ringless voicemail supporters say it doesn’t meet the definition of a call under the law because no audible ringing is transmitted to the recipient’s smartphone. Supporters express that ringless voicemail drop is a way to transfer data from a voicemail repository and not an actual phone “call,” as defined by the TCPA.
However, the FCC has said that the law is supposed to be interpreted widely and updated with changing communications technology. Ringless voicemail may be considered a violation of the spirit and cause of the TCPA restrictions on calls and the use of artificial or prerecorded voices on cell phones without the proper consent.

Federal Communication Commission on Ringless Voicemail

The FCC is the government company accountable for implementing telecommunications laws just like the TCPA. It has also not made any specific regulations regarding Ringless Voicemails (RVM).
In 2017, the FCC released a report mentioning that ringless voicemails should probably be labeled as a type of “call” under the TCPA because the technology has the inherent capacity to motivate telephones to ring.
However, the FCC also mentioned in the same report that the legality of ringless voicemail would require additional research and attention to statements from the public. As of mid-2023, the FCC has not issued a report to classify ringless voicemail as legal or illegal under the laws it governs.
The FCC’s viewpoint about ringless voicemails as potential violations of the TCPA depends on the particular instances and how the technology is being utilized. Several ringless voicemail providers and consumers have encountered enforcement action from the FCC for not receiving proper consent and failing to honor do-not-call requests.

Final Thoughts About Ringless Voicemail Drops Legal

Ringless voicemail offers cost-effective opportunities for real estate investors trying to directly contact customers and prospects. The technology exists in a legal gray place that lacks definitive regulatory guidance and consensus. We would advise businesses to get proper consent from prospects under the TCPA before executing RVM campaigns.
Reputable legal professionals generally tend to suggest companies avoid ringless voicemail campaigns till the government provides clear guidelines and compliance requirements. There are legitimate concerns about whether the technology violates consumer privacy and consent demanded by the TCPA.

How a Ringless Voicemail Drop Appears on a Phone?

When you receive a ringless voicemail drop on your phone, it honestly shows up as a brand-new voicemail message in your inbox. There is no record of a missed call, and your cellphone does not make any ringtone sound or vibration.
The most convenient way you would receive a ringless voicemail drop is by manually checking your voicemail inbox and locating the unexpected pre-recorded message there.

How Ringless Voicemail Works?

Ringless voicemail works by delivering a pre-recorded message to a prospect’s smartphone via loading the voicemail immediately onto the prospect’s voicemail server bypassing the standard process of dialing, ringing, and then leaving a voicemail after beeping at the smartphone.
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