On May 27, 2015, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler released a “fact sheet” on his proposal to address two dozen pending petitions seeking clarification on various aspects of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The Chairman intends to address all of the petitions in a single omnibus approval, which will be presented for a vote during the Commission’s Open Meeting on June 18, 2015.
Many of the issues identified in the Chairman’s announcement have been pending before the Commission for a year or more. They cover core TCPA issues such as the definition of an “autodialer,” wrong number calls and texts, revocation of consumer consent, and the sending of informational messages. For the most part, the Chairman’s proposal appears to expand the scope of the TCPA and add new obligations on entities sending calls or texts, increasing the risks of class action lawsuits and FCC enforcement. At the same time, however, the proposal establishes some narrow exemptions that may prove beneficial for companies falling within the ambit of the TCPA.
We have included more information about the Chairman’s proposal in a preliminary client advisory that we will issue early next week. Once the Commission votes on June 18th, we will follow up with a more extensive client advisory. In the meantime, to learn more about the Commission’s recent TCPA activity, sign up for our monthly TCPA Tracker, which features a detailed summary of all petitions pending with the FCC, including the petitions that would be addressed in the Chairman’s proposed rulings.