Answering Machines and DNC Rules


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I just got my scrubbed residential list this morning and have started making phone calls myself. In an hour, I've had 3 conversations and had several non-working numbers. The majority have been no answer or answering machines.

Since there are so many answering machines, I'm wondering if I shouldn't leave some kind of message.

Are there any DNC rules about leaving a Voice Mail?

If it is legal, I would like to leave a message and perhaps get a call back every once in awhile.

Any insight you have would be appreciated.
You'll need more input then just mine. Going over the DNC rules they only address prerecorded messages - which is a no no. It doesn't say anything about leaving a "real" message.

However, since prerecorded messages are a violation the consumer wouldn't be able to tell the difference anyway. You're also posting this on the senior section so I can only assume you'll be calling seniors - the one group of people who have nothing better to do then file complaints.

So my gut says no.
There is no rule specifically about leaving a voicemail, when all other rules have been followed. You just can't use a machine to dial to specifically leave a voicemail, but when you dial, no answer, you can with no issue.

The message cannot be misleading, such as you can't say "Joe, this is Bob, I have some important information about an Emergency Room visit for your child, it's important that you call me as soon as possible". This would get you in trouble.

If you just leave a normal message, you'll be okay. You may find it to be a waste of time though, but I think this is market specific. Try it. You'll get calls back asking to be removed, maybe a few wanting to talk about insurance.

From my experience calling residential and leaving messages is. I get more people calling me back to bit@# me out than people interested in insurance.
DJS is correct regarding the rules about leaving a voice mail message. If you reach a recorder, you can leave a canned message.

FTC regulations speak specifically to telemarketers that run programs that only leave recorded messages. I don't do this, but it is legal IF YOU FOLLOW THE REGULATIONS.

My program (Cheetah) allows me to dial a number (live), and if a recorder answers, I can choose to leave a canned message in response, or hang up and move on. I like this feature. It beats leaving an ad lib message, which gets really boring.

Listening to other's comments on this subject gives me pause about leaving any message, canned or ad lib, from now on. All that is legal is not necessarily good sense.
I'm reading it wrong then. From what I read you cannot leave pre-recorded messages on residential machines, period. Where are you reading that you can.
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I'm reading it wrong them. From what I read you cannot leave pre-recorded messages on residential machines, period. Where are you reading that you can.

John, Thank you for challenging me on this point. It has been too long since I read the regulations, and I stand corrected. The regulations are here: Unwanted Telephone Marketing Calls

"Calls using artificial or prerecorded voice messages – including those that do not use autodialers – may not be made to home phone numbers except for:
  • emergency calls needed to ensure the consumer’s health and safety;
  • calls for which you have given prior express consent;
  • non-commercial calls;
  • calls that don’t include or introduce any unsolicited advertisements or constitute telephone solicitations;
  • calls by, or on behalf of, tax-exempt non-profit organizations; or
  • calls from entities with which you have an EBR. "
The phrase "including those that do not use autodialers" means that, unless one has an EBR, you cannot leave a canned message on a home recorder, even with the invitation to leave a message. I am sure this goes beyond what the rulemakers had in mind, but a careful reading makes it clear what the rule is. Better safe than sorry.

Final resolve: I will not leave a canned message from now on, even if it would be nearly impossible to distinguish from my ad lib message. Additionally, any message at all may be too much, as in my former post.