Ringless voicemail

Ringless voicemail, also called a voicemail drop, is a method in which a pre-recorded audio message is placed in a voicemail inbox without the associated telephone ringing first. This practice is commonly associated with spamming and debt collection services.[1]

Legal status in the United StatesEdit

Although the Federal Communications Commission was petitioned to exempt the practice from robocall laws, the petition was dropped after it raised controversy.[2]

United States courts have consistently ruled multiple times that voicemail is subject to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act the same as a regular telephone call,[1] which has the effect of making voicemail drops that contain an unsolicited advertisement or debt collection calls illegal in all circumstances where the recipient phone number belongs to a rate limited account. Such messages, therefore, are a violation subject to fines and civil liability, even if the call went unanswered or the voice message wasn't opened, and the person called does not need to prove that they were billed for any calls to win the case.[3][4] Such messages are also illegal in cases where the phone number is listed on the FTC's do not call list.

Legal status in CanadaEdit

In Canada, the CRTC allows voice mail messages that do not interrupt the person's activities in real-time.[5]


  1. ^ a b "Are "ringless voicemail" calls exempt from the TCPA?". Copilevitz, Lam & Raney, PC. 18 July 2017. Retrieved Dec 1, 2020.
  2. ^ "FCC Ringless Voicemail Petition Is Dead". Jun 26, 2017. Retrieved Dec 1, 2020.
  3. ^ "FindLaw's United States Seventh Circuit case and opinions".
  4. ^ "New Argument Rejected: Fourth TCPA Blow to Ringless Voicemail May be the Most Painful One Yet".
  5. ^ "Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules". 20 April 2009.