Last week, the FCC published a Public Notice seeking comments on a number of TPCA issues that have recently been causing ripples in the industry. Specifically, the FCC is looking for comments about the following: 1) What constitutes an “automatic telephone dialing system” (ATDS); 2) How to treat calls to reassigned wireless numbers under the TCPA; and 3) How may a called party revoke prior express consent to receive robocalls? There are reasons to be optimistic about this notice. The current leadership of the FCC has been vocal in their criticisms of previous interpretations of ATDS. This notice could very well be an important step towards having more business-friendly telemarketing regulations at the Federal level. Those who would like to see that outcome shouldn't miss this opportunity to comment and express their opinions to the leadership of the FCC. Comments are due by June 13, 2018. Click here for more details and comment instructions:
Effective August 1, 2016, the FTC raised its civil penalty from $16,000 to a staggering $40,000. This is a per violation penalty, and adds up quickly. Among other violations, the new fine applies to any violation of its Telemarketing Sales Rule, or any other act which it defines as an "unfair or deceptive act or practice." Therefore, the new fine may be applied to online, email and other marketers - not just telemarketers. Prior to February of 2009, the penalty was $11,000. Since February of 2009, the fine had been $16,000. Violations that can trigger the new $40,000 fine include, for example:
The FCC announced that effective October 1, 2016, its fees for accessing the national Do-Not-Call database will be increased to $61 per area code, or $16,714 for the entire nation. The fee for accessing an additional area code for a half year will remain at just $30. Remember that sellers must obtain a subscription account number ("SAN") and purchase all area codes into which they will call, unless they have an exemption such as well-documented written consent or an established business relationship. Non-telemarketing calls are not subject to the consumer DNC list, but use caution because "telemarketing" is defined broadly.