FCC Releases

  • The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) released a draft Report and Order which would adopt rules allowing voice service providers to block robocalls that appear to be from telephone numbers that do not or cannot make outgoing calls. The Commission would allow providers to block calls from numbers (i) used only for inbound calls, when the subscriber to the number authorizes it to be blocked; (ii) purportedly originating from invalid numbers under the North American Numbering Plan; or (iii) purportedly originating from numbers that are not allocated by the North American Numbering Plan Administrator or the Pooling Administrator to any provider, or that are allocated but currently unused. Providers would not need consumer consent to block these types of calls or be required to count these blocked calls when calculating their call completion rates on FCC Form 480. The Commission would also clarify that Section 222 of the Communications Act and its implementing rules allow carriers to use, disclose, or permit access to customer proprietary network information for the purposes of robocall traceback, sharing a subscriber’s request to block an inbound-only number, and protecting carriers and users from fraudulent, abusive, or unlawful behavior. The Commission is scheduled to vote on adopting the Report and Order at the November 16, 2017 Open Commission Meeting.
  • The Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau issued a Public Notice seeking comment on a petition for declaratory ruling filed by the Credit Union National Association (“CUNA”). CUNA requests that the Commission adopt an established business relationship exemption from the TCPA’s prior express consent requirements for informational calls made by or on behalf of credit unions to their members. Alternatively, CUNA requests that the Commission exempt such calls from the prior express consent requirements when they are free to the called party. Comments are due November 6, 2017, and reply comments are due November 21, 2017.

Notable Filing

  • ContextMedia, Inc. d/b/a Outcome Health filed a petition for clarification or declaratory ruling, asking that the Commission clarify or declare that a company making good faith efforts to comply with the TCPA’s prior express consent requirements is not subject to liability for noncompliance resulting from an unknown and inadvertent technical error. In its petition, Outcome Health states that despite its comprehensive, good faith efforts to comply with the TCPA, a technical error temporarily prevented some consumers who had subscribed to text messages from Outcome Health from later opting out of those messages via text. Outcome Health claims that this technical glitch was discovered and remedied as soon as a consumer complaint alerted it to a possible problem.