Client Bulletin: New FCC Rulings on Automated Dialing to Customers Could Affect Many Businesses

By William B. Baker.

The FCC voted on Thursday, June 18, to tighten the rules on most telephone calls from businesses to consumers, whether made by wireline or wireless devices.  The action applied to the agency’s rules implementing the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.  Although the FCC did not attempt new rules, it adopted a number of clarifications and interpretations that effectively broadened the scope of the existing restrictions and increased the risks for businesses that use the phones (including texting) to contact their customers for marketing or for informational alerts.

The new FCC interpretations potentially affect even businesses that have already obtained prior written consent from customers to receive such calls, as the FCC ruled that customers have a right to rescind previously given consents.  The FCC also adopted a broad definition of an “automated telephone dialing system” that potentially could apply to any dialing device other than a rotary phone.  It also authorized telephone companies to allow customers to use call blocking technologies to stop robocalls.

The FCC’s ruling may make this a good time to review how you use voice and text calling to reach current and prospective customers.  Let us know if we can help.

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Note: This Bulletin is not intended as legal advice. Readers should seek professional legal counseling before acting on the information it contains.