NEWS16 February 2012

Mobile surveys escape written consent restriction

News North America

US— The US communications regulator has dropped proposed regulations that would have required prior written consent for automatically calling mobile phones for research.

Prior consent is still required to auto-dial mobile phones – a rule that the Marketing Research Association continues to campaign against – but it doesn’t need to be in writing. The MRA said the research profession was “gratified” that the FCC decided against making the rules even tougher.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) yesterday unanimously approved the new regulations, which will prohibit most telemarketing ‘robocalls’.

The law against auto-dialling mobiles without consent, introduced in 1991, makes it more time-consuming and expensive to include mobile numbers in survey samples because interviewers have to punch in every number by hand.

“By requiring all consent to be written, the proposed rules could have made it harder to conduct research based on viable representative samples,” said Howard Fienberg, the MRA’s director of government affairs.