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FCC's Order for TCPA 'Clarity' May Raise More Questions Than It Answers

Bloomberg BNA

Andrew W. Grant

On July 10, 2015, the Federal Communications Commission (‘‘FCC’’) released an omnibus Declaratory Ruling and Order (‘‘Order’’) aimed at ‘‘clarifying whether conduct violates the [Telephone Consumer Protection Act (‘‘TCPA’’)] and . . . detailing simple guidance intended to assist callers in avoiding violations and consequent litigation.’’ As the FCC acknowledges, confusion over what type of conduct violates the TCPA has fueled a substantial increase in TCPA litigation over the past several years, so more clarity and simple guidance would be welcome.

Unfortunately, the 81-page order is anything but simple. Instead, its rulings create new litigation risks for good-faith callers that have valid business reasons for contacting consumers, with ‘‘clarifications’’ that make compliance more difficult. Its rulings also expand the circle of businesses facing potential TCPA litigation risks beyond callers—to calling platforms and apps and even to carriers.

In short, the Order appears to raise more questions than it answers, even in the answers it provides.

Originally published in BloombergBNA Telecommunications Law Resource Center; reprinted with permission. 

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