Category Archives: FCC

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This Argument Is No Longer in Service: Did FCC and FTC Drop the Issue of Reassigned Numbers as a Solution to Robocalls?

On March 23, 2018, the FCC and FTC hosted a joint forum to discuss the issue of robocalls. Consisting of three panels and remarks from key leadership of both agencies, the event marked a significant step in agency cooperation to mitigate consumer frustration from unwanted calls. The panels focused on three issues: (1) challenges facing … Continue Reading

FCC Revives Its Own Native Advertising Rule: Sponsorship Identification

The FCC’s Sponsorship Identification Rule is a close, perhaps neglected cousin of the FTC’s Enforcement Policy Statement on Deceptively Formatted Advertisements, i.e., its Native Advertising Guide. Nevertheless, the FCC’s latest enforcement action demonstrates how failure to follow the rule can result in penalties far larger than any imposed to date by the FTC. It also … Continue Reading

One Vote for a TCPA Violation? Campaign Robocalls During Recent Elections Draw Ire

The midterm elections are just around the corner, and with them could come a host of potential Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) concerns if recent history is any indication.  The TCPA places restrictions on, among other things, robocalls and automated text messages, both of which often are used by political campaigns seeking votes or donations.  … Continue Reading

For Every Action There Is an Equal and Opposite Reaction: Study Finds That TCPA Litigation Boomed Following the FCC’s July 2015 Order

In July 2015, a divided Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued its omnibus Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) Order, which modified and ostensibly “clarified” numerous aspects of the TCPA, such as expanding the definition of “automatic telephonic dialing system” (more commonly referred to as autodialer) and concluding that consumer consent to receive calls may be revoked … Continue Reading

Summer of Sequels: The FTC Joins the FCC in Releasing Consumer Complaints Regarding Purported Robocalls and Do Not Call Violations

Summer 2017 has seen and will see some well-publicized releases of sequels, remakes, and reboots: Ridley Scott’s Alien Covenant; Johnny Depp back in his starring role as Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise; Stephen King’s It; and the latest installments in The Mummy, Transformers, and Spider Man series, to name a … Continue Reading

To Be or Not to Be . . . a Call?: Petition Before the FCC Would Clarify Whether a Ringless Voicemail is a Call

On March 31, 2017, All About the Message LLC (AATM), filed a petition for a declaratory ruling before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), requesting that the FCC issue a rule that would declare that delivering a voice message directly into a consumer’s voicemail box does not constitute a “call” that is subject to the Telephone Consumer Protection … Continue Reading

FCC Posts Enforcement Advisory Alerting Businesses of TCPA Text Messaging Rules

The FCC was busy in November.  On November 18, the FCC posted an Enforcement Advisory on robotexting and consumer protection, and on November 21 published a blog on robocalls.  The FCC notes that the Advisory was issued to promote understanding of the clear limitations on the use of autodialed text messages, often referred to as … Continue Reading

Water Drinking Contest Causes Waves at the FCC, Potentially Sinking the Promoter

It has been almost a decade since a water-drinking contest held by an Entercom’s Sacramento radio station resulted in the death of a contestant, but the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has a long memory.  Last week, the FCC issued a Hearing Designation Order (it can be found here) to determine whether the license held by … Continue Reading

The Phone Keeps Ringing . . . But is it a Residential Line and Was an Autodialer Used?

As the weather changes and I reach for the allergy medicine in my bottom desk drawer, I’m reminded of that old proverb, “March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers.”  March winds also bring plenty of pollen and, apparently, a flurry of activity on the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) front regarding what constitutes … Continue Reading

State Attorneys General Tell Senate to HANGUP on Robocalls

On February 10, a bipartisan coalition of 25 state attorneys general, led by Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster and Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, sent a letter to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation urging passage of the Help Americans Never Get Unwanted Phone Calls Act of 2015 (the HANGUP Act). The letter should … Continue Reading

Pause, Clicking, and Dead Air – TCPA Autodialers as a Story about Nothing

In Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) autodialer cases, it is important for defendants to put plaintiffs to their evidentiary burden of proving that an autodialer actually was used.  As one recent case discussed below demonstrates, being active on this front and keeping records showing how a company lawfully engages in telemarketing can save time and … Continue Reading

“Show Me” State Shows No Mercy: Missouri AG Files Suit Against Charity Telemarketers

On October 27, 2015, the Missouri Attorney General filed a lawsuit against two telemarketing companies that solicit donations on behalf of charitable organizations in the state, and against the companies’ co-owners.  Regular readers of this blog know that these have been very eventful times for telemarketers, as the U.S. Supreme Court considers the breadth of … Continue Reading

Postscript to Luna v. Shac LLC: Human Intervention Still Precludes Finding That Strip Club’s Dialing Platform Constitutes an Autodialer Under the TCPA

Last month, we blogged about the U.S. District Court for Northern District of California’s recent decision entered in Luna v. Shac, LLC, — F. Supp. 3d –, No. 14-cv-00607 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 19, 2015), which awarded summary judgment to the defendant-gentleman’s club in a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) class action.  You can read that post … Continue Reading

“There’s a Storm Coming, Mr. Wayne” – FCC Decides to Release Robocall and Telemarketing Consumer Complaints

In the most recent installment of the Batman movie franchise, The Dark Knight Rises, Anne Hathaway’s character, Selina Kyle, whispers ominously into Bruce Wayne’s ear, “There’s a storm coming, Mr. Wayne.  You and your friends better batten down the hatches . . .”  Hathaway was forecasting the onslaught of villains who, shortly thereafter, stormed Gotham … Continue Reading

Hear! Hear! FCC Modernizes Contest Rules for Broadcasters

The days of on-air fast-talking contest announcements are coming to an end.  Last Thursday, the FCC adopted revised rules that allow broadcasters to disclose contest rules on an Internet website, as opposed to reading them over the air.  Prior to this rule change, under the FCC’s “Contest Rule” (47 C.F.R. Section 73.1216), broadcasters that advertised … Continue Reading

Court Holds That Human Intervention Covers Strip Club From Liability in TCPA Autodialer Class Action

On August 19, 2015, in Luna v. SHAC, LLC, No. 5:14-cv-00607 (N.D. Cal.), the Northern District of California issued one of the first decisions interpreting the Telephone Consumer Protection Act’s (“TCPA”) definition of “automatic telephone dialing system” (i.e., autodialer) following the FCC’s July 2015 omnibus TCPA order.  Luna may serve as guidepost for future litigants, … Continue Reading

FCC Releases Long-Awaited TCPA Ruling

On July 10, 2015, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) released its much-anticipated Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) declaratory ruling, expanding on the positions announced at its June 18 Open Meeting on important TCPA issues.  The ruling resolves 21 requests for clarification, and, in particular, confirms that an “automatic telephone dialing system” (i.e., an autodialer) includes … Continue Reading

FCC Open Meeting May Open TCPA Class Action Litigation Floodgates . . . Further

For over a year, telemarketers have anxiously awaited clarity on a number of issues relating to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”), including the treatment of reassigned numbers and the definition of “autodialer.”  At the June 18, 2015, Open Meeting held by the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) to vote on updates to the … Continue Reading

FCC Chairman Wheeler Proposes Significant Updates to TCPA Rules

After months of speculation and numerous petitions to the agency, Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) Chairman Tom Wheeler issued a fact sheet on Wednesday, May 27, addressing two dozen petitions seeking clarity on FCC enforcement of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) and proposing significant actions intended to strengthen consumer protections related to unwanted calls and text … Continue Reading

Think You Are Exempt from FTC Jurisdiction? Think Again, Judge Says after Throttling AT&T’s Motion to Dismiss FTC Lawsuit

Last week, a federal judge in the Northern District of California denied AT&T’s motion to dismiss the FTC’s lawsuit against the company concerning its advertising and business practices for its mobile wireless data plans. As we noted last fall, the FTC accused AT&T of misleading millions of its customers by marketing “unlimited” data plans, but … Continue Reading

Some Senators Make an Unsolicited Call to the FCC

It seems as if every few weeks, a new court decision weighs in on how to interpret the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”), especially the meaning of “automatic telephone dialing system” (“autodialer”) and “called party.”  Trade associations and telemarketers have petitioned the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) for clarification, hoping to reduce the compliance burden and … Continue Reading

TCPA Autodialers 101: What Makes an Autodialer and What’s Next from the FCC

Telemarketers are all too aware that automatic telephone dialing systems (“autodialers”) are a hot topic in the litigation world. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”), 47 U.S.C. § 227, and the Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC”) implementing rules, 47 C.F.R. § 64.1200, prohibit making any autodialed call or text message to cell phones without the called … Continue Reading

Facing the Fax: Always Use Opt-Out Notices for Fax Advertisements (and Seek A Retroactive Waiver, If You Haven’t)

Even in 2014, fax marketing by associations, businesses, and other individuals shows no sign of slowing down.  We have previously noted the significant number of class action lawsuits involving fax advertisements under the Junk Fax Prevention Act (“JFPA”). Now the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) is drawing more attention to this less common form of advertising.  … Continue Reading
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