Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)

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The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) was signed into law in 1991 to curb the increase in unregulated and harassing telemarketing calls and faxes. The TCPA also restricted the use of auto dialers and pre-recorded voice messages, and required customer consent. However, in 1991 cellphones resembled bricks, and lacked most modern abilities including text messaging. Since then, technology has rapidly evolved in the wireless marketplace, leaving the TCPA very outdated. Read More...

In the past few years, plaintiffs’ lawyers have exploited the law’s outdated language to bring abusive and costly class action lawsuits against a multitude of businesses. Rather than going after bad actor spammers and scam artists, the trial bar instead sues legitimate businesses and forces them to defend themselves in actions where the alleged aggregate statutory damages may be in the billions of dollars (and a sizeable fee award going to the plaintiffs’ lawyer). Further, many of these companies are sued for reasons outside of their control, such as a third party mentioning their products via a phone call or a text message advertisement.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently ordered the creation of a comprehensive reassigned phone number database that will enable companies to verify whether a phone number has been permanently disconnected and is eligible to be reassigned. It also wisely states that the caller is not liable if there is a database error, such as the omission of a disconnected number. This prevents plaintiff lawyers from filing frivolous lawsuits that hurt American businesses at no fault of their own.

While the reassigned number database is an important step in the right direction, additional work still needs to be done. The Institute for Legal Reform is continuing to call on Congress and the FCC to clarify the TCPA and specify what equipment and practices fall within the law’s scope as well as work to modernize the statute in order to protect businesses from the frivolous lawsuits being filed under this outdated law.

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All Results for Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)

  1. Serial plaintiff caught on tape describing how to take advantage of TCPA

    March 18, 2020 | News

    Recorded conversations prove that a Pennsylvania man who has filed dozens of lawsuits is intentionally taking advantage of a federal law to extort settlements from defendants, according to a report in the Pennsylvania Record.... Read More

  2. Narrow Definition of ATDS Prevails in the Seventh Circuit

    February 20, 2020 | News

    The Seventh Circuit has rejected a broad interpretation of Automatic Telephone Dialing Systems (ATDS), which threatened to create "liability for every text message sent from an iPhone," the National Law Journal reports. ... Read More

  3. "High Court May Interpret TCPA Autodial Rules Narrowly"

    February 12, 2020 | News

    Two Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) defense attorneys with the Squire Patton Boggs law firm say the U.S. Supreme Court "may kill the plaintiffs bar's golden goose."... Read More

  4. New ILR Letter Urges FCC Action on TCPA

    February 10, 2020 | News

    The tug-of-war over the Telephone Consumer Protection Act's (TCPA) autodialer definition started two years ago after the ACA International v. FCC decision came down. The split between the various federal appeals courts deepened two weeks ago. ... Read More

  5. ILR, Business Groups Urge Action on TCPA

    February 07, 2020 | News

    In a new letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform and 18 other business groups are urging action to rein in abusive Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) litigation, Law360 reports.... Read More

  6. In the News Today - February 5, 2020

    February 05, 2020 | News

    "Another Court Comes Around on Autodialers"... Read More

  7. Another Court Comes Around on Autodialers

    February 04, 2020 | Blogs

    It's no secret that the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) has become a cash cow for plaintiffs' attorneys. Thankfully, some courts are finally coming around. ... Read More

  8. 11th Circ. Decision Narrows Autodialer Decision

    January 30, 2020 | News

    A three-judge panel on the Eleventh Circuit issued what one lawyer called "probably the most significant [Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)] decision in a while" by taking a narrower definition of what constitutes an autodialer, Law360 reports.... Read More

  9. "Significant Chance" Upcoming SCOTUS Decision on TCPA May Change Litigation Landscape

    January 16, 2020 | News

    Lawyers and legal experts told Law360 that an upcoming U.S. Supreme Court case on the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) may change the law "as we know it."... Read More

  10. In the News Today - January 15, 2020

    January 15, 2020 | News

    Ben & Jerry's Says Happy Cow Lawsuit Should Be Dismissed; Professional TCPA Plaintiff Faces Racketeering Lawsuit... Read More