FCC Adds Consumer-Friendly Updates to TCPA
The Federal Communications Commission which is in charge of enforcing the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) cleared up many questions on Friday in its latest release. Click here for an in-depth explanation of the TCPA. Briefly, the TCPA controls how companies communicate with people through telephone calls, texts, and faxes. The telemarketing and consumer products industries have reportedly been pushing the boundaries on what is legal when trying to contact people. The alleged practices have gone so far past the boundaries set by the FCC that the agency decided to issue an order to clear up any gray areas of the law. If you have been contacted for marketing purposes or other reasons by companies that do not have your consent, then you may have a claim. Please contact us using the form on this page or call us at 424-245-5505. You may be part of a class action lawsuit.
The TCPA was passed by Congress in 1991. It lays out the rules for how and using what type of technology companies can use to contact people for delivering marketing information, situation updates, and even emergency information. For instance, the TCPA makes it illegal for telemarketing companies to place calls to emergency numbers like 9-1-1 and hospital phone systems. It is reported that many companies that offer accounts and services to people through the Internet have been requiring people to give consent to be contacted by calls and text messages to their cell phones as a condition of approval to receive services or a membership. The FCC’s latest ruling makes the illegality of this practice much more clear for the companies that have previously gotten away with this practice.
Calls vs. Text Messages
There has been some reported confusion by companies because they haven’t obtained the same type of consent for text messages as cell phone calls. The FCC cleared up any points of confusion in its new ruling on the differences between text messages and voice calls. Under the new TCPA ruling there is no difference between voice calls and text messages, including Internet-to-phone text messages, and the consent that companies must obtain from people before such communications can legally be made. According to the TCPA companies must obtain consent before making these prohibited communications.
Types of Consent
The type of consent that companies must obtain from their customers depends on whether a message or call is considered to be telemarketing or informational and what technology was used to place the call. Generally, messages that include any form of advertising or that encourage a person to purchase or use a product or service will probably be considered to be telemarketing. The TCPA requires that companies obtain prior express written consent to make telemarketing calls or to send telemarketing text messages to people. Informational text messages must be content-neutral, or not try to sell or market anything to people, according to the TCPA. Messages confirming opt-in, opt-out, or some other type of customer status must not contain any advertising or promotion of products or services. If you have received messages containing this type of illegal message content you may be a part of a class action lawsuit. Please contact us using the form on this page or call us at 424-245-5505.
Revocation of Consent
Many companies have allegedly been requiring people who try to sign up for membership on their websites to give consent to be contacted through cell phone calls and text messages. There are also reports that many companies have not offered any way for people to opt out of their consent to receive cell phone calls and text messages after having signed up for services or membership on a website. The FCC has clarified that this practice is illegal and that people have a right under the rules of the TCPA to revoke consent.
It has been reported that when some companies have offered a way for people to revoke their consent who have signed up for services or memberships, the methods take lots of very difficult and time-consuming steps. The FCC clarified that people must now be able to revoke consent to receive calls and text messages in any reasonable way at any time. Companies must now offer clear and easy ways for people to revoke their consent if it is a requirement of approval for membership or to receive services. If you have been forced to give consent to receive this type of calls or text messages you may have a claim.
Safe Harbor For Reassigned Numbers
There have been widespread reports of companies repeatedly contacting numbers that belong to people who have not given their consent to be contacted. This can happen when a cell phone number is reassigned from one person to another because of an account closure. Even if the prior user of the cell phone number gave their consent to receive communications from a company, consent does not transfer with the cell phone number to the new user. The ruling from the FCC clears up any confusion on this issue and clearly states that only one call can be made to a reassigned number to before the companies may be subject to penalties under the TCPA. The new cell number user is not required by the TCPA to indicate that they have not and do not consent to receive communications. Companies are required to determine on their own after one call whether a number belongs to a consenting customer. If this has happened to you please contact us using the form on this page or call us at 424-245-5505. You may be part of a class action lawsuit.