TCPA Basics

On July 10, 2015, the Federal Communications Commission (the “FCC” or “Commission”) released its long-awaited Declaratory Ruling and Order, which was prompted by nearly two dozen petitions and letters requesting clarifications relating to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (the “TCPA”).

Concerns for Telemarketers

The 2015 FCC ruling raised a number of new issues for telemarketers seeking to comply with the TCPA and its implementing regulations. Most notably:

  • Most calling systems are “autodialers.” The FCC’s expansive interpretation of the TCPA’s autodialer definition labels practically every telemarketing device on the market as an autodialer (and subject to regulation under the TCPA), even if it is not presently used for that purpose.
  • Prior consent only valid for one call after a number is reassigned. If a phone number is reassigned, telemarketers must now either stop calling the number after one call or obtain the prior express written consent of the new owner of the number.
  • Text messages must comply with the TCPA. The FCC reiterated that text messages are “telephone calls” within the meaning of the TCPA.
  • New exemption for one-time, on-demand text messages. The Commission determined that a text message does not violate the TCPA or FCC rules if it: (1) is requested by a consumer; (2) is a one-time only message sent immediately in response to that specific consumer request; and (3) contains only the information requested by the consumer, with no other marketing or advertising information.
  • New exemption for certain app providers. The FCC has provided additional protections for certain app providers in connection with text messages delivered via mobile application.
  • Stay Tuned

    This area of the law is nuanced and in a state of flux. We will continue to closely monitor all TCPA developments.