On June 25, 2015, the senior Senator of the State of New York, Mr. Charles Schumer, introduced a bill before the United States Senate seeking to pass the “Quell Unnecessary, Intentional, and Encroaching Telephone Calls Act of 2015 (the “QUIET Act”). If passed, the QUIET Act will impose harsh financial penalties, and even the prospect of jail time, for those robocallers which violate its provisions.
What is the QUIET Act?
Schumer Introduces QUIET Act to Stem Robocalls
Bill S.1681, or the QUIET Act, will criminalize (with limited exception) commercial robocalls. The QUIET Act defines commercial robocalls as “a telephone call made for the purpose of soliciting or encouraging the purchase or rental of, or investment or enrollment in, property, goods, or services, using an automatic telephone dialing system or an artificial prerecorded voice.” According to its terms, any person found to have violated the QUIET Act “shall be fined not more than $20,000 per violation, imprisoned for not more than 10 years, or both.”
The QUIET Act does exempt the use of robocalls if prior express written consent is provided by the consumer, or if robocalls are used for emergency purposes or by or on behalf of a tax-exempt nonprofit organization. The QUIET Act also provides an exemption if a robocall is used to deliver a message relating to health care made by, or on behalf of, a covered entity or business associate of a covered entity, as defined by the Code of Federal Regulations.
When introduced, Schumer’s bill was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. We will continue to monitor the progress of the bill and provide updates.