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 Since then, technology has rapidly evolved in the wireless marketplace, leaving the TCPA very outdated.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In the past few years, plaintiffs’ lawyers have exploited the law’s outdated language to bring abusive and costly class action lawsuits against a multitude of businesses.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well as work to modernize the statute in order to protect businesses from the frivolous lawsuits being filed under this outdated law.


Suggested Resources

  • TCPA Litigation Sprawl: A Study of the Sources and Targets of Recent TCPA Lawsuits

    TCPA Litigation Sprawl: A Study of the Sources and Targets of Recent TCPA Lawsuits

    August 31, 2017

    TCPA Litigation Sprawl is a macro-level analysis of Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) litigation that reviews all TCPA federal complaints and a segment of electronically-available state complaints from a 17-month period after the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) issued its July 2015 Omnibus Declaratory Ruling. Read More

  • The Juggernaut of TCPA Litigation:  The Problems with Uncapped Statutory Damages

    The Juggernaut of TCPA Litigation: The Problems with Uncapped Statutory Damages

    October 23, 2013

    Companies that communicate with their customers for any legitimate reason (marketing, collections, or transactional) have been discovering in recent years that if they reach out to customers via call, text, or fax, they are at risk for being sued under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by a plaintiff claiming that the communication was not made with his or her consent. Read More

Additional Resources

All Results for Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)

  1. Attorneys Say TCPA Litigation Has Skyrocketed

    September 24, 2019 | News

    In a Bloomberg Law Insight piece, two attorneys with the Eckert Seamans law firm say the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) "has enjoyed remarkable popularity, at least among the plaintiffs bar."... Read More

  2. 11th Circ. Says One Text Doesn't Equate to TCPA Harm

    August 29, 2019 | News

    Yesterday, the Eleventh Circuit said a single unsolicited text does not generate the necessary harm to bring lawsuits under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), Law360 reports.... Read More

  3. "We Still Don't Know" What Can And Can't Be Used, Says TCPA Lawyer

    June 10, 2019 | News

    Though the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently gave companies expanded power to block unwanted calls, the lack of clarity on what does and does not constitute an illegal autodialer makes compliance difficult, The Wall Street Journal reports.... Read More

  4. Attorneys Ask If California's New Privacy Law Will Become "The New TCPA"

    May 29, 2019 | News

    Attorneys with the Squire Patton Boggs law firm say the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) "is likely to create a wave of litigation and class action" similar to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).... Read More

  5. FCC Commissioner: TCPA Litigation a "Mess"

    May 17, 2019 | News

    Commissioner Michael O'Rielly of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said yesterday that class action litigation around the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) is a "mess" and a "spider web."... Read More

  6. In the News Today - April 22, 2019

    April 22, 2019 | News

    "TCPA Questions Loom As 11th Circ. Considers 3 Cases... Read More

  7. New Video Offers Solutions For TCPA Reform

    April 18, 2019 | Blogs

    It's no secret that Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) litigation has run amok. So, what gives? It's clear that the law needs an update. A path forward is needed to keep up with technology. A new video from Faces of Lawsuit Abuse provides that path.... Read More

  8. Law Firm Asks FCC For TCPA Clarity

    February 28, 2019 | News

    The Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld law firm asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for some clarity on the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, Law360 reports.... Read More

  9. "Click, Then Sue": How a Robocall App Acted as a Lawyer Referral Service

    January 30, 2019 | News

    Legal Newsline reports in Forbes that a robocall complaint app was actually operating as an unapproved lawyer referral service in Florida.... Read More

  10. In the News Today - January 25, 2019

    January 25, 2019 | News

    "California Leads In Class Action Lawsuits;" Class Action Defense Lawyers Say Reassigned Number Database a "Positive First Step"... Read More