Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: Dialing Legality and Rules ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Dialing Legality and Rules
Category: Business and Money > Advertising and Marketing
Asked by: chimichan-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 27 May 2003 20:16 PDT
Expires: 26 Jun 2003 20:16 PDT
Question ID: 209648
I would like to know if two particular types of telephone dialing have
any legalities or requirements in the 5 (or more) most densely
populated states.

The types of dialing are: 

    Computer automated dialing that plays a Survey message to the
    Computer automated dialing that plays a Sales message to the

The receiver may be a person or answering machine.  Requirements may
include a special tax or subscription to a do-not-call list.

Clarification of Question by chimichan-ga on 27 May 2003 20:27 PDT
Just to clarify, requirements may not be limited to those listed,
they're just examples.
Subject: Re: Dialing Legality and Rules
Answered By: errol-ga on 28 May 2003 04:08 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi there, Chimichan!

This is a very interesting question and luckily, there is quite a lot
of information on the subject.
I will focus on the laws and regulations governing the actual
technology, rather than general telemarketing and sales.


The first Google search that I performed gave me some good results [
:// ],
with several companies who deal with automated computer dialing
software listed.
The first result, Total Call Management Systems, had lots of valuable
answers to questions like the following:
"What is exactly Auto Dialer / Automated dialing?

Auto Dialers are telephony devices having auto dialing or speed
dialing capabilities. These are devices, which are capable of dialing
a large number of people automatically through a database or are
capable of randomly or sequentially dialing telephone numbers to
deliver a unified message or messages. The term Auto Dialer is
applicable to a wide range of products available in the market, such
as auto dialer telephony computer, predictive dialer, voice-mail
system and speed-dial system.
Auto dialers are designed to make outbound calls. They utilize
controlled voice activation to record answers to questions. This
provides the prospect with a normal conversational environment or
interactive environment whereby one can speak in a normal fashion
without bothering about pressing buttons on the keypad. Auto dialers
are meant to be creating qualified sales lead generation and finding
pre-qualified prospects for your business."

This company also suggest that you consult an Attorney to determine
the legality of automated dialing in each state.

Pre-recorded calls

Unfortunately, making unsolicited (cold) calls using this technology
to a residential number is strictly prohibited in all states across
the US.

The law is as follows:

"Autodialers are usually used to place artificial (computerized) or
prerecorded voice calls. Except for emergency calls or calls made with
the prior expressed consent of the person being called, 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, home for the elderly, or similar establishment;
    * a paging service, cellular telephone service, or other radio
common carrier service, if the person being called would be charged
for the call; or
    * any other service for which the person being called would be
charged for the call.

Calls using artificial or prerecorded voice messages - including those
that do not use autodialers – may not be made to residential telephone
numbers except in the following cases:

    * emergency calls needed to ensure the consumer’s health and
    * calls for which you have given prior consent;
    * non-commercial calls;
    * calls which don’t include any unsolicited advertisements;
    * calls by, or on behalf of, tax-exempt non-profit organizations;
    * calls from entities with which you have an established business

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.
In certain areas there might be a delay before you can get a dial tone
again. Your local telephone company can tell you if there is a delay
in your area."

Quote from:

So in a nutshell, if you are using the artificial voice or
pre-recorded technology to place unsolicited sales calls (cold
calling) to residential telephone numbers, you will be breaking the

The main exceptions are if you are placing a call to a business or if
you are not making selling anything.
Then, you can place calls of this nature but you will still have
certain rules applied, I will explain the main one related to this
technology below.

Predictive Dialing

There is also a related technology known as "Predictive Dialing" which
simultaneously calls many numbers at once and only connects the calls
which are answered within a certain time limit, usually a matter of
seconds, to the system or sales agents.
However, many consumers do not like this practice as seen on an
advisory by the Federal Communications Commission:
The above document also has a handy list of states that have
implemented, or are in the process of implementing, "do-not-call"
lists which I will refer back to in a moment, first we have to acquire
a list of the most populated states.


Using the Census information available online, I compiled a short list
of the top 5 most populated states in the year 2000 (the most recent
data) which are:

State         Population
California    33,800,000
Texas         21,000,000
New York      19,000,000
Florida       15,900,000
Illinois      12,400,000

Data taken from:

I will present the information by state with the relevant links, the
individual laws contain far too much information to copy into this so
I will give you the locations of the documents.


Acceptable error rates for Predictive Dialing

Setting standards for predictive dialer calls

Full code


Automatic Dial Announcing Devices (ADADs)

Telephone Solicitation

Main Telecommuncations Index

New York

Freqently asked questions of the Attorney General - Telemarketing

Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act

"Rules That Apply to Computerized Calls
Artificial (computerized) or prerecorded voice calls cannot be placed
to your home, except for the following:
•  	Emergency calls.
•  	When you have given prior consent to such calls.
•  	Non-commercial calls (for example, calls from charities, polling
organizations, political or government agencies).
•  	Calls by or on behalf of tax-exempt nonprofit organizations.
•  	Calls which don’t have unsolicited advertisements.
•  	Calls from companies with which you have an established business

note that this is exactly the same as the Federal Communications
Commission's law as mentioned near the top.


The Florida law documents do not specifically refer to Predictive
Dialing, although the usual Telemarketing rules will still apply.
The full law is here:


"Sec. 30. Violations.
(b)  It  is  shall  be a violation of this Act Section to
     play a prerecorded message placed by an autodialer without
     the consent of the called party."

"Do-not-call" Register

The Telephone Preference Service also applies to most states of the
The 5 states which we have been looking at have the following status:

California - Effective from October 2003
Texas - Effective
New York - Effective
Florida - Effective
Illinois - Effective from July 2003

The full list of states can be found here:

The organization which are in control of this is the Direct Marketing

Telephone Preference Service - FAQ

Related links

Consumer Protection - Telemarketing

Consumer Law Page

Telemarketing Laws

Related Google searches

"tps states"

"computer automated dialing legal"

"us telecommunications regulator"

"population density by state"

"telephone dialers"

I hope this provides all the information that you need, I've certainly
learned a lot about the US telecom laws this morning!
Kind regards,
chimichan-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Thank you very much, this is exactly what I was looking for.

There are no comments at this time.

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy