The FCC May Make Important Clarifications to the TCPA

Last week, FCC Chairman Wheeler put forth a proposal that will address more than 20 pending petitions before the Agency.  The FCC will vote on the proposal June 18, 2015.  Chairman Wheeler has posted both a set of FAQs and a blog post providing more information. Chairman Wheeler has made clear that the intent is to expand consumer protection with regard to calls and texts, stating that he wants to send a clear message that “consumers have the right to control the calls and texts they receive, and the FCC is moving to enforce those rights and protect consumers against robocalls, spam texts, and telemarketing.”

If approved, and based upon Chairman Wheeler’s blog post and FAQs, the proposal would address at least the following:

  •  Allow for the adoption of robocall-blocking technology;
  • Clarify the issue of a "reassigned number," such that callers could not call a reassigned number after one call (applies at least to robocalls);
  •  Allow consumers to opt-out of robocalls in any “reasonable” manner; 
  •  Allow for certain limited and specific exceptions, such as for fraud alerts. There would be no exceptions for marketing purposes; and
  •  Defining "autodialers" as “any technology with the potential to dial random or sequential numbers” (emphasis added).

The final point, above, may be of significant interested to many companies, as it is a broad definition and will impact text messages as well as certain calls.

If approved by the Commission, the declaratory rulings in the proposal would become effective immediately upon release.


This blog post has been updated, please refer to The FCC TCPA Order: What Does My Business Need To Know?