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Amicus Briefs Challenge Recent Changes to TCPA

By Casey Houser, Contributing Writer
December 10, 2015

A number of companies in the financial, retail, information technology, and utility industries have filed eight amicus briefs – documents filed by an appellant on behalf of amici affected, in this case, by a law – to challenge the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC (News - Alert)) altered rules that affect the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

According to an article at JD Supra, appellants in the case, such as the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals (also known as ACA International), that represent the amici use the briefs to address recent changes to the TCPA that have made it illegal for businesses to use autodialers to reach consumers’s mobile phones without those consumers’ direct consent. The FCC made this change in July of this year; the group also expanded the definition of an autodialer to include any device that may be capable of automatically dialing a number. The amicus briefs reportedly challenge the FCC on the grounds that the commission has overstepped its authority and has made the definition of an autodialer too broad.

ACA International leads the appellants and supports the following amici: American Bankers Association, American Gas Association, CTIA (News - Alert)—The Wireless Association, National Association of Chain Drug Stores, and the National Retail Federation. Those corporate groups appear to want to make the definition of an autodialer more manageable in order to better serve their customers.

This does not appear to be solely about the implications the FCC’s rules could have on marketing efforts. In one case, at least, according to the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, the rules could affect how drug stores in the U.S. reach their customers with information about medications and prescriptions. Similarly, utility companies have argued that the rules could bar them from notifying customers about power outages or service interruptions.

In addition to those matters, the briefs also reportedly address other provisions of the TCPA. Earlier this year, TMC (News - Alert) noted the struggle that companies may have when trying to determine consumer consent for contact, revocation of consent, and complications with reassignment of existing phone numbers to new clients.

JD Supra notes that the consolidated appeal docket will continue through February 2016. TMC should also continue to address the matter as the case unfolds and the FCC continues to face scrutiny with regard to its latest actions regarding the TCPA.

Edited by Maurice Nagle


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