The hopes of businesses nationwide that the FCC would offer some relief were dashed Friday when the FCC released its final Declaratory Ruling and Order (FCC Order) in response to 21 petitions seeking assistance under the TCPA. See In the Matter of Rules and Regulations Implementing the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, Declaratory Ruling and Order, FCC 15-72, CG Docket No. 02-278, WC Docket No. 07-135, July 10, 2015. The FCC Order comprises 138 pages, addresses more than a dozen issues and includes two blistering dissents.

According to Commissioner Ajit Pai, “This Order will make abuse of the TCPA much, much easier. And the primary beneficiaries will be trial lawyers, not the American public.” FCC Order at p. 113. Commissioner Michael O’Reilly was similarly chagrined, saying, “The Commission’s unfathomable action today further expands the scope of the TCPA and sweeps in a variety of communications either by denying relief outright or by penalizing companies that dial a number that, unbeknownst to them, has been reassigned to someone else.” Id. at p. 127.
Continue Reading FCC Hangs Up on Businesses Calling for Help (Part 1 of an 11-Part Series)

Through its latest declaratory rulings on Friday, the FCC shunned an opportunity to rein in the damage that has been done to U.S. businesses over the past several years by the TCPA plaintiffs’ bar, choosing instead by a 3-2 vote to expand the scope of the TCPA beyond its statutory meaning. The FCC’s rulings create a dangerous landscape for not just telemarketers, but any companies that do business over the phone. TCPA litigation has dramatically spiked in recent years (at least 2,000 TCPA cases were filed in 2014 alone), and the FCC’s latest action will do nothing to stem the tide—as FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai wrote in a recent editorial for The Daily Caller, “Almost every call between a business and its customers will become a potential TCPA violation.” That sound you hear is the TCPA plaintiffs’ bar exchanging high fives.
Continue Reading FCC’s Latest TCPA Ruling Opens the Floodgates Even Wider