On June 20, 2019, a bipartisan group of legislators, led by House Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Greg Walden (R-OR), introduced the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act.
The bill directs the FCC to do the following: (1) issue rules to better effectuate the intent of the TCPA, including updates on descriptions of automatic telephone dialing systems and artificial or prerecorded voice calls, clarification of withdrawal of consent by consumers, and provisions to address circumvention or evasion of the TCPA; (2) file a report with Congress within one year on the implementation of a reassigned number database (“RND”); (3) annually submit a report to Congress, prepared in consultation with the FTC, on enforcement under the TCPA; (4) implement rules requiring carriers to implement call authentication technology and reassess the efficacy of the technology every two years; (6) prescribe regulations that streamline how private entities can inform the FCC of TCPA violations with the FCC within eighteen months; and (7) study whether VoIP providers must maintain call records to allow calls to be traced and submit a report to Congress within eighteen months on the results of the study.
Other parts of the bill would update the definition of “called party” to read “the current subscriber or customary user of the telephone number to which the call is made, determined at the time when the call is made,” which codifies the definition of the rule adopted by the FCC in 2015, but that was overturned by the D.C. Circuit in 2018 in ACA International v. FCC. The change would not go into effect until the RND is established. The bill would also amend the Communications Act to make Section 503(b) inapplicable to TCPA violations, meaning that a citation would not be needed for a forfeiture penalty. Additionally, the bill would increase the statute of limitations for forfeiture penalties to three years for unintentional violations of the TCPA and four years for intentional violations.
FCC Petitions Tracker
Kelley Drye’s Communications group prepares a comprehensive summary of pending petitions and FCC actions relating to the scope and interpretation of the TCPA.
Number of Petitions Pending
- 30 petitions pending
- 1 petition for reconsideration of the rules to implement the government debt collection exemption
- 1 application for review of the decision to deny a request for an exemption of the prior express consent requirement of the TCPA for “mortgage servicing calls”
- 1 request for reconsideration of the 10/14/16 waiver of the prior express written consent rule granted to 7 petitioners
- 10 applications for review of fax waiver orders under the Anda progeny (these applications for review were not addressed in the Nov. 14, 2018, Bureau order)
- 1 application for review of the CGB order issued on 11/14/18 eliminating the opt-out language rule for solicited faxes (and 2 oppositions to the application for review)
- AmeriCredit Financial Services Inc. – Seeks a waiver to allow it to provide only its d/b/a name, GM Financial, when placing artificial or prerecorded voice calls because it would reduce consumer confusion and will not hinder the ability of consumers to search for and find the company’s contact and other corporate information (Comments due 6/24/19; reply comments due 7/9/19)
- bebe stores, inc. and ViSalus, Inc. Waiver Petitions Granted – The FCC granted limited retroactive waivers of its prior-express-written-consent rule due to confusion about whether written consent obtained prior to when the rule was adopted was still valid, consistent with waivers granted to other petitioners.
Click here to see the full FCC Petitions Tracker.