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Stricter rules for telemarketers

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TYLER (KYTX) - Tired of telemarketers calling and texting you on your cell phone? You're in luck.

A new rule from the Federal Communications Commission went into effect October 16. It mandates customers must give written consent to receive automated voicemails and text messages from telemarketers.

"You don't know them and you don't know the product. And, they're just so forward in pushing you into a decision." says Criss Sudduth.

He has received calls and texts from telemarketers on his cell phone before, and he says he doesn't appreciate them.

"I can understand the concept, but they've become a little too intrusive."

Sudduth says most of the time, it's not what they're selling that annoys him, it's when they're trying to sell it.

"That's the only thing that bothers me. A lot of times they call me at suppertime."

He's pleased with the FCC's new rule to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

"All those interruptions don't satisfy me very well." he says. 

The new requirement tightens restrictions on telemarketers.

"If it has anything to do with marketing a new product to them or selling an existing product to them, you have to get an ok from them first." says Mechele Mills, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Central East Texas.

She says you should be receiving texts from companies you're subscribed to asking if you'd like to continue hearing about offers from them. If you text back no and the company continues to try to sell a product to you through an automated dialing system or text, that's a violation of the rule.

"If you receive an unsolicited message, you can forward that message to 7726, which spells out 'spam.' and, your phone provider will block that sender."

That sender can also get hit with a fine ranging from $500 to $1,500 per violation.

This new rule only applies to sales and marketing offers through automated dialing systems and texts. A company can still contact you on your cell phone about customer-service related issues.

Mills says you should never reply to unsolicited messages with personal or financial information.

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