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Small Business Administration Raises Concerns on Draft Robotext Rules

The Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy warned against provisions in FCC draft robotexting rules, set for a Dec. 13 commissioner vote, clamping down on the lead generator loophole (see 2311220047). “The FCC’s proposal to require sellers to obtain consent…

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to call or text from one consumer at a time could increase costs significantly for small businesses that both buy and sell sales leads,” said a filing Friday in docket 21-402. “Many small businesses, such as the small credit unions and small insurance companies that Advocacy has spoken with, rely on purchasing sales leads from lead generators as their primary marketing method,” the agency said: “These businesses lack the advantages of larger firms that can afford targeted advertising but offer important competitive alternatives that benefit consumers.” But public interest and consumer groups in a series of meetings at the FCC applauded the restrictions, said a filing posted Monday. “Final adoption of the proposed language on prior express written consent will accomplish just what the Commission expects,” the groups said: “It will ‘prohibit abuse of consumer consent by’ lead generator websites and most importantly will radically reduce the number of unwanted telemarketing calls and texts.” The groups noted that the restrictions will protect the wireless phones used by small businesses as well as individual consumers. Groups on the filing were the National Consumer Law Center, Consumer Action, the Consumer Federation of America, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, NASUCA, Public Knowledge and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.