FCC Expands Reach of Telephone Consumer Protection Act

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In late July, we posted our client alert titled FCC Expands Reach of Telephone Consumer Protection Act.  The Alert discusses the FCC’s July 10, 2015 long-awaited omnibus Declaratory Ruling and Order. The Ruling focuses largely on providing guidance, particularly for new and emerging technologies, regarding what an automated telephone dialing system (aka ATDS or autodialer) is and when consent to use one to place a call or send a text message is required under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and its implementing regulation, 47 C.F.R. § 64.1200. All businesses should immediately reevaluate their calling and text messaging practices to ensure compliance with the new Ruling, as it is likely to escalate the continued upward trend in TCPA class action filings.

The Ruling skews heavily on the side of protecting consumers from potentially unwanted calls and text messages while allowing some conditional exceptions that may be beneficial to consumers. In addition, the Ruling establishes that telecommunications providers can implement blocking technology. Therefore, all businesses should be alert to the potential for their calls to be blocked, including by error.