FCC updates TCPA for only one call to cell phonesIn my brain still remains, within the sound of silence…no more ringing in my ear…no more unwanted telephone calls…

 And echoed in the wells of silence…..enjoy that quiet dinner meal…no more ringing in my ear…no more unwanted telephone calls…

Silence like a cancer grows….Why haven’t I received the call from…It’s been awhile since I heard from…

While the intent of the July 10, 2015 Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) ruling was to provide clarification to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), it unfortunately has put obstacles in the road that compliant companies now have to navigate around.  What will the impact ultimately be to the consumer?

There have been a number of appeals filed because of the murkiness of the clarifications, organizations need to take additional steps to ensure compliance with the new ruling; specifically:

  • Manage telephone numbers that have changed owners (reassigned.)
  • Manage more manual outbound telephone calls as automation of calls have been further restricted.

Hello darkness my old friend

The interesting thing about reassigned numbers is no one owns this list and the FCC only allows for one call made to what is now a wrong number which includes disconnected telephone numbers.  Safe harbor provisions are now narrowly defined.  If there a multiple groups making calls, you now need to coordinate and collaborate to ensure that the one call protection is closely adhered.

The FCC offered suggestions on how to manage reassigned numbers, but in reality most are not practical, cost effective solutions.  One suggestion was having customers sign an agreement stating that they will notify the company of changes to their contact information and that the company can take legal action against them for failure to notify is not going to happen if a company wants to keep or attract a loyal customer.

The other head scratcher is how the FCC redefined the word capacity.  Technology has gained much efficiency that allows companies to automate calls to their existing customers and legitimately seek new customers.  The ruling now defines an automated telephone dialing system (ATDS) as technology that has the potential capacity of making an outbound call without human intervention.  If a company uses their dialer to facilitate a manually dialed call when required by law, but that dialer has future capacity to automate a call, the organization is now considered out of compliance even if they were in compliance on July 9, 2015.

Some companies have gone to the extreme and are removing all cellphone numbers from their call lists.  What if that cellphone number is the only way to reach a customer?  How will you contact them?

Within the sound of silence…take heart…only wanted calls are received…compliant organizations have taken the necessary steps to ensure adherence even with this new ruling.

By Deborah H. Conklin

Corporate Compliance Officer

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