June 10, 2018

FCC dealing with robocall issue

National Consumer Law Center - According to the call-blocking app YouMail’s Robocall Index, robocalls made to consumers in the month of May exceeded 4 billion, the highest one-month total on record. As the number of calls soars, the Federal Communications Commission has opened an inquiry into a number of critical questions under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act that will determine whether this law remains viable as a protection against robocalls.

... The TCPA prohibits autodialed calls (ones made with an autodialer, formally known as an “automatic telephone dialing system”) to cell phones without the called party’s consent. Until recently, the FCC had clearly interpreted this prohibition as applying to the types of autodialers that businesses use today to make telephone calls or send out texts en masse. However, a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in March set aside the FCC’s interpretation of this term as too expansive, and sent the matter back to the FCC for reworking. The FCC then issued a request for public comments on how to interpret the law and what constitutes an autodialer.

Consumers have until June 13 to submit comments to the FCC using docket number 18-152 and urge the Commission to maintain a common-sense definition of an autodialer, establish a reassigned number database, and allow consumers the right to revoke consent to receive robocalls even when consent is given as a matter of contract.

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