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 prevent lawsuits from aggressive plaintiff’s attorneys (See TCPA Update for recent filings). Now, fourteen United States Senators have provided their two cents, not on the specific meaning of any definitions, but rather the general direction the FCC should take when clarifying the rules. The Senators’ clear message: Don’t weaken the TCPA’s protections for consumers.
On January 28th, fourteen Senators signed a letter to Chairman Wheeler at the FCC expressing “deep concerns” that the proposed changes being considered by the FCC would “undermine the intent and spirit of the TCPA.” The letter discussed the purpose of the TCPA, indicating that it was passed by Congress to protect consumers from intrusions into the home by telemarketers. Emphasizing the importance of broader protection for consumers, the letter explained that “by banning autodialing and pre-recorded calls to land lines and mobile phones, with certain exceptions, and establishing the National Do Not Call Registry, the law created a zone of privacy that remains hugely popular with consumers to this day.” In closing, the letter reiterated:
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