What is a robocall? 

  • A robocall is a recorded message delivered to your phone by an automatic dialing announcing device (ADAD). These devices store thousands of telephone numbers and then dial them automatically and play the message.

When and how can an ADAD be used legally?

  • ADADs can be used between the hours of 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. California time. 
  • The recording must be introduced by a live person and the person called must give their consent to hear the recorded message.
  • The following companies and agencies may use ADADs without the introduction by a live person, outside the specified time period, and without the call recipient’s consent to hear the recorded message:
    1. School regarding pupil attendance
    2. Bank for contacting its members
    3. Cable company regarding previously arranged appointment times
    4. Private or public utility regarding previously arranged facilities installations, or notification of emergency actions, public safety repairs, or restoration of services
    5. Petroleum refinery, chemical processing plant or nuclear power plant in regards to a life-threating emergency
    6. Fire protection agency, public health agency, public environmental agency, or an agent acting on their behalf when providing information regarding public safety, police or fire emergencies or warnings of emergencies
    7.  A known party, business party, customer or any other person the call recipient has a relationship or understanding with, or from whom the call recipient had agreed beforehand to receive the ADAD call

What about ADAD messages received during election periods from candidates or involving election issues?

  • These calls must follow relevant state and federal laws. Laws about using ADADs in California are in the Public Utilities Code, Sections 2871-2876.

What can I do if I receive or answer an unwanted robocall?

  • Utilize a caller ID service. While such a service is not always perfect in identifying telephone numbers, it allows you to screen calls and then not answer calls from telephone numbers you do not recognize.
  •  If you answer a telephone call and it is a robocall, immediately hang up the phone. Do not press any buttons on your phone even if you are told doing so will prevent these calls in the future.

Where can I get more information regarding ADADs and robocalls and how to prevent them?

Where can I file a complaint about a robocall?

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