Some new and exciting rules to aid consumers were proposed by the Federal
Communications Commissions this week. I have written about the CFPB, the
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau a number of times in this blog before,
they deal with consumer protection issues and consumer credit. The FCC
regulates radios and television but they also regulate the phone system,
which is why it is relevant to our practice. The FCC has proposed new
rules relating to the Telephonic Communication Practices Act (TCPA), a
law which forbids debt collectors and others using automatic dialing devices
when calling the cell phones of consumers. The highlights of the new rules
and clarifications which the FCC proposed are as follows:
Definition of auto dialer. One issue which has been fought over a lot in Courts throughout the state
is what exactly counts as an “auto-dialer”. The FCC removed
ambiguity from the definition which will make it a lot harder for companies
harassing consumers to claim that the computer device that they used to
automatically call cell phones was not “truly” an auto-dialer.
Clarification on revocation. The FCC made clear that even if someone had previously given consent
to receive auto-dialed call, they can revoke that consent “in any
reasonable way at any time” and that it does not need to be in writing.
No third party consent. This is possibly one of the most important changes. It is no longer legal
for companies to claim that a consumer consented to phone calls because
they consented to receive calls from a third party.
Text messages count just like phone calls. The FCC ruled that text messages can be violations of the TCPA.
This document has been provided for informational purposes only and is
not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. Please
consult your attorney in connection with any legal issues related to the
matters discussed in this article as the applicability of state, local
and federal laws may vary.