Dialing Platforms- In the Middle -Are Next Target of FCC Enforcement Efforts to Curb TCPA Violations


At an event hosted by the Federal Communications Bar Association yesterday, FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Travis LeBlanc discussed the statutory and regulatory basis for the FCC’s recent enforcement actions and areas where it will focus its attention in the future.  LeBlanc promised to provide industry guidance through enforcement actions as the Enforcement Bureau goes after those who are the source of the greatest volume of consumer complaints:  robocallers.

LeBlanc noted that TCPA complaints account for 75 percent of consumer complaints filed at the FCC, and robocalls account for 21 percent of all calls made in the U.S.  He addressed the difficulty faced by the Bureau to enforce TCPA regulations against telemarketers directly, referring to it as a game of “whack-a-mole,” where new telemarketing companies are formed to take the place of earlier companies sanctioned with enforcement penalties.  LeBlanc explained that the FCC will begin taking steps to enforce the TCPA rules against platforms “in the middle” for robocalls.  LeBlanc cited to the Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture against Dialing Services, where the Commission indicated that a robocalling platform could be held liable under the TCPA even if it does not assist its clients in selecting or identifying the numbers to be called or in formatting the message to be played.  The NAL leaves open the potential reach of the TCPA to platforms in the middle of a service that ultimately lead to robocalling.

As the FCC expands its enforcement of privacy and data security, it plans to continue its partnership with the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general on do-not-call and other issues.  Noting the success of junk fax enforcement, which has resulted in an 80% reduction in consumer complaints since 2009, LeBlanc promised to curb violations of the TCPA by robocallers.

If you require additional information regarding these changes to the FCC’s enforcement regime or you desire specific guidance on how these changes may impact your business, please contact the attorney responsible for your account with our law firm.  If you are not currently a client of The CommLaw Group, we suggest contacting your regulatory counsel.  If you wish to engage The CommLaw Group, please contact Jonathan S. Marashlian at jsm@commlawgroup.com or by phone: 703-714-1313.

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