Many businesses have call centers, or dial numbers as part of customer outreach.  These telemarketing and informational calls are regulated by the Federal Communications Commission under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which is intended to protect consumers and Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) from robocalls and other intrusive telephone calls.

Recently, the FCC issued a Declaratory Ruling, designed to significantly strengthen the TCPA.  As a result, many businesses must review their calling policies to ensure that they are compliant with Federal law, in order to avoid significant fines.

In summary, the FCC confirmed that under the TCPA:

  • Callers cannot avoid obtaining consumer consent for a robocall simply because they are not “currently” or “presently” dialing random or sequential phone numbers;
  • Callers are liable for robocalls to reassigned wireless numbers when the current subscriber of the number has not consented, subject to a limited, one-call exception for cases in which the caller does not have actual or constructive knowledge of the reassignment; and
  • Text messages are “calls” subject to the TCPA.
  • The FCC confirmed that consumers may revoke consent at any time.
  • The FCC exempted certain free, pro-consumer financial-and healthcare-related messages from the consumer-consent requirement, subject to strict conditions and limitations to protect consumer privacy; and
  • The FCC provided guidance regarding the TCPA, empowering callers to mitigate litigation through compliance and dispose of litigation quickly where they have complied.