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 Since then, technology has rapidly evolved in the wireless marketplace, leaving the TCPA very outdated.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In the past few years, plaintiffs’ lawyers have exploited the law’s outdated language to bring abusive and costly class action lawsuits against a multitude of businesses.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) is implementing 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 will help prevent 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well as work to modernize the statute in order to protect businesses from the frivolous lawsuits being filed under this outdated law. Exacerbating this problem are the multiple conflicting court decisions about what falls within the purview of the TCPA and the types of equipment that callers may or may not use.


Suggested Resources

  • ILR Briefly COVID-19 Series: Federal Liability Problems and Solutions

    ILR Briefly COVID-19 Series: Federal Liability Problems and Solutions

    May 07, 2020

    As the public health and economic consequences of COVID-19 continue to mount, plaintiffs' lawyers are looking for ways to expand upon their legal theories and bring opportunistic litigation. This edition of ILR Briefly explores four projected hot spots of COVID-19 litigation: exposure liability, product liability, medical malpractice, and securities litigation. The paper goes on to recommend targeted federal legislative and administrative solutions to combat abusive lawsuits in these areas and protect the economic recovery. Read More

  • 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

All Results for Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. "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

  4. 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

  5. In the News Today - December 18, 2018

    December 18, 2018 | News

    How Has the Definition of "Autodialer" Changed TCPA Class Actions?... Read More

  6. FCC Takes Important Step to Curb Abusive TCPA Litigation

    December 14, 2018 | Blogs

    The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) has been in the spotlight a lot in 2018. From an increased number of frivolous lawsuits, to stories of outrageous fines for minor infractions, it's clear the TCPA desperately needs to be updated. ... Read More

  7. In the News Today - November 30, 2018

    November 30, 2018 | News

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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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