[C]alls are quietly deposited through a back door, directly into a voice mail box — to the surprise and (presumably) irritation of the recipient, who cannot do anything to block them.
Regulators are considering whether to ban these messages. They have been hearing from ringless voice mail providers and pro-business groups, which argue that these messages should not qualify as calls and, therefore, should be exempt from consumer protection laws that ban similar types of telephone marketing.
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The [Federal Communications C]ommission is collecting public comments on the issue after receiving a petition from a ringless voice mail provider that wants to avoid regulation under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991. * * *
Even consumers on the “Do Not Call” list could potentially be bombarded by telemarketers, advocates said. “The legal question is whether the people sending the messages would be required to comply with the Do Not Call list,” Ms. [Margot] Saunders [of NCLC] said. “We read the law to possibly not apply if they are not considered calls.”