Telephone Consumer Protection Act

In a watershed ruling for businesses facing the recent onslaught of Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) claims, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals held that consumers cannot revoke their consent to receive automated or prerecorded cell phone calls if they previously consented to receive those calls as part of a binding contract. See Reyes v. Lincoln Automotive Fin. Servs., No. 16-2104-cv, slip op. (2d Cir. June 22, 2017).

In Reyes, the plaintiff entered into a binding auto lease agreement, which contained a provision stating that he expressly consented to be contacted using “prerecorded or artificial voice messages, text messages, emails and/or automatic telephone dialing systems” at the cell phone number he had provided on his application.  When the plaintiff defaulted on his car lease and he started receiving collection calls on his cell phone, he allegedly mailed a letter revoking his consent to receive further calls, but they continued.

The New York federal district court granted summary judgment to the defendant in part on the basis that “the TCPA does not permit a party to a legally binding contract to unilaterally revoke bargained-for consent to be contacted by telephone.” On appeal, the Second Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision, holding that “the TCPA does not permit a party who agrees to be contacted as part of a bargained-for exchange to unilaterally revoke that consent, and we decline to read such a provision into the act.”

Continue Reading Second Circuit Provides Businesses with a Powerful Defense to TCPA Revocation Claims

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) applies in many circumstances when companies use an automatic telephone dialing system (or “autodialer”) and/or pre-recorded messages to call consumers. In those situations where the TCPA does apply, the company cannot make the call unless it is an “emergency,” or unless the company has the prior express consent of the called party.  The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has the power to exempt certain categories of calls from the TCPA’s requirements.

The TCPA is vigorously enforced by the FCC and has also been the source of extensive class action litigation, including suits against utilities. Any violation of the TCPA can subject the calling company to statutory damages of $500 to $1,500 per call.  Those statutory damages can quickly add up to millions or tens of millions of dollars in liability.  Given this regulatory framework and potential liability, entities have petitioned the FCC for clarification regarding definitions in the TCPA and the application of the law to certain types of telephone communications.

The Edison Electric Institute and American Gas Association recently filed a petition with the FCC (the “EEI/AGA Petition”), seeking confirmation that “under the TCPA, providing a wireless telephone number to an energy utility constitutes ‘prior express consent’ to receive, at that number, non-telemarketing, informational calls related to the customer’s utility service, which are placed using an autodialer or an artificial or prerecorded voice.” The FCC has previously found that a consumer providing his or her telephone number signifies prior express consent to be called on that number for purposes that relate to the reason the number was provided.  For example, providing a phone number on a credit application signifies prior express consent to be called on that number for purposes related to that credit account.  The EEI/AGA sought clarification that such guidance applied in the context of providing telephone numbers to utility companies.

In a declaratory ruling released August 4, 2016, the FCC granted the EEI/AGA Petition. The FCC found that:  “in the absence of facts supporting a contrary finding, prior to the termination of a customer’s utility service, a customer who provided a wireless telephone number when he or she initially signed up to receive utility service, subsequently supplied the wireless telephone number, or later updated his or her contact information, is deemed to have given prior express consent to be contacted by their utility company for calls that are closely related to the service[.]”

Continue Reading The FCC Clarifies Prior Express Consent Under the TCPA for Calls to Utility Company Customers

Some of you may remember that back in early November 2015, I wrote about a then little-noticed provision slipped into the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. That provision, designed to find more revenues to offset government spending (and thus help to reduce the federal deficit), created an exemption from the Telephone Consumer Protection Act

Automated dialing systems are back – temporarily – like never before. The new Budget Act provision makes “robocalls” to mobile phones a nonissue when used to collect money owed to the United States government. Following this release, Sen. Ed Markey spoke out and is reportedly preparing a “Hang Up Act” aimed at repealing this robocall

The Declaratory Ruling and Order issued by the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) July 10, 2015,  clarified several sections of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”), including addressing a petition filed by the American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management regarding “free, pro-consumer… healthcare-related messages,” and under what circumstances such messages are exempt from the TCPA’s

On Friday, July 24, the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation issued an Order consolidating in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals three timely petitions for review of a July 10, 2015 Declaratory Ruling and Order of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). That Order resolved 21 petitions for declaratory ruling, proposed rulemaking and clarification

Yesterday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) once again demonstrated to businesses the wisdom of that old adage, “be careful what you ask for.” The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) protects consumers from unwanted telephone calls and text messages and has created a cottage industry for the plaintiffs’ bar bringing a tsunami of individual and class

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) yesterday announced the largest Do-Not-Call settlement it has ever reached.  Under that settlement, a major telecommunications company will pay $7.5 million for the mobile wireless company’s alleged failure to honor consumer requests to opt out of phone and text marketing communications.  In addition, the company has agreed to take a

This post was also written by Rob Jackson.

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida recently released a decision in a TCPA suit brought by a man seeking damages in connection with a series of autodialed telephone calls made to his mobile phone. In his decision on cross motions for summary judgment,

This post was written by Timothy P. Law.

This week, Wisconsin became the latest state to join the majority of courts nationwide finding broad general liability insurance coverage for claims alleging violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, ruling that such claims allege publication of material that violates a person’s right of privacy.

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