The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) went into effect in late 1992. Later this month, significant revisions to the TCPA are scheduled to be implemented — specifically with regards to cell phones.
As summarized by the Direct Marketing Association, the current TCPA requires telemarketers to:
- Limit the calls to the period between 8 A.M. and 9 P.M.
- Maintain a “do not call list” and honor any request to not be called again. When such a request is received, the requester may not be called again on behalf of the business for whom the solicitation is made.
- Have a clearly written policy, available to anyone upon request.
- Have a training program for their personnel making the telephone solicitations.
- The “do not call” request must also be honored by any affiliate or subsidiary of the company if there is a reasonable expectation on the part of the consumer that there request would apply also to the affiliate or subsidiary.
And as the DMA summarizes: A call is exempt from the TCPA if the call is made on behalf of a tax-exempt nonprofit organization, iIs not made for a commercial purpose, does not include an unsolicited advertisement, even if it is made for a commercial purpose, is made to a consumer with whom the calling company has an established business relationship.
What’s ahead later this month? According to Doug Smith and Andrew Smith, writing for Business Law Today:
“Key provisions of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) rule are scheduled to take effect in October of this year. These changes will require written consent for auto-dialed and prerecorded telemarketing calls and text messages to cell phones, and will require written consent for prerecorded telemarketing calls to landlines.”
“The TCPA has a private right of action, and recent class actions alleging violations of the law’s auto-dialer provisions have settled for tens of millions of dollars. The filing of TCPA complaints is on the rise, and recent court decisions have complicated the TCPA litigation landscape.”
4 Replies to “Coming Soon: Key Revisions to the TCPA”
The revisions that are being made to the TCPA are reflective of our changing society. Though some of the rules seem like they may be taking the issue a bit seriously, these are real issues in today’s society, especially because there is such easy access to personal information such as telephone numbers. The rules will definitely be beneficial to the average American who would prefer not to be pestered constantly, especially by automated phone calls. Just because information is easily available to companies for telemarketing purposes does not mean that every American with a phone should be subject to their badgering.
The revisions made to the TCPA I believe are necessary, especially since personal information is very easy to access these days. The most interesting changes to me are requiring written consent for auto-dialed and prerecorded telemarketing calls and text messages to cell phones. These new rules regarding text messages are definitely reflective of todays modern society, as everyone always seems to have their smartphone on them. Sending texts to individuals based entirely on an ‘established business relationship’ with individuals does not give telemarketers the right to pester customers.
I find the revisions to the TCPA quite ineffective. Limiting the calls to between 8 am. through 9 p.m. is just as annoying. Not only are people most likely having dinner with their families before 9, but they are also least likely to carry a conversation with a telemarketer. This revision just generates a lose-lose situation. Not only does this disrupt the household, but it also wastes telemarketers time by not making the sale. I also disagree the fact that a call that is made from a non-profit organization is exempt from the TCPA. If the person being called has no connection with the organization, the call should not be made.