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 Since then, technology has rapidly evolved in the wireless marketplace, leaving the TCPA very outdated.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In the past few years, plaintiffs’ lawyers have exploited the law’s outdated language to bring abusive and costly class action lawsuits against a multitude of businesses.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as work to modernize the statute in order to protect businesses from the frivolous lawsuits being filed under this outdated law.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

Research
  • 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. In the News Today - November 30, 2018

    November 30, 2018 | News

    "TCPA Lawsuits are HOW Expensive??"... Read More

  2. TCPA Lawsuits are HOW Expensive??

    November 30, 2018 | Blogs

    A new report from the TCPAland blog shows just how expensive TCPA litigation actually is.... Read More

  3. In the News Today - November 21, 2018

    November 21, 2018 | News

    "High Court Junk Fax Case Is Not Just About Junk Faxes"; Lawsuit Lender Trying Again to Recoup Money Off Invalidated Loans... Read More

  4. FCC Unveils Major TCPA Initiative

    November 21, 2018 | News

    The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced a new Telephone Consumer Protection Act-related effort to thwart the growing robocall issue yesterday, the Washington Post reports.... Read More

  5. In the News Today - November 20, 2018

    November 20, 2018 | News

    FCC Ditches Junk Fax Opt-Out Rule... Read More

  6. SCOTUS "May Upend TCPA Litigation Landscape"

    November 15, 2018 | News

    A pending decision from the U.S. Supreme Court may "change the way plaintiffs and defendants frame key issues that have fueled an explosion of litigation" under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), Law360 reports.... Read More

  7. In the News Today - October 31, 2018

    October 31, 2018 | News

    Ninth Circuit Won't Reconsider Expanded Autodialer Definition; Key SCOTUS Cy Pres Case to Begin Today... Read More

  8. In the News Today - October 29, 2018

    October 29, 2018 | News

    Industry Associations Ask FCC For New Autodialer Definition... Read More

  9. In the News Today - September 26, 2018

    September 26, 2018 | News

    Protein Bar Manufacturer Says "Professional Plaintiff" Never Ate the Bar She Sued Over; New Jersey Court Offers Competing Autodialer Definitions... Read More

  10. In the News Today - September 25, 2018

    September 25, 2018 | News

    "The TCPA is a Clunker that Doesn't Stop Robocalls"... Read More