On Friday, Jan. 31, 2014, debt collection industry trade group ACA International filed a petition requesting the Federal Communications Commission to adopt updates and provide much needed clarification and revisions to rules governing the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

ACA’s intent is to allow covered communications to be governed by a clear, fair and consistent regulatory framework that protects the interests originally contemplated by Congress when it enacted TCPA without impeding the legitimate business operations of the Association’s members.

ACA’s petition is broad-based, asking the FCC to accomplish the following objectives:

  • Confirm that not all predictive dialers are categorically automatic telephone dialing systems.

  • Confirm that “capacity” under the TCPA means present ability.

  • Clarify that prior express consent attaches to the person incurring a debt, and not the specific phone number provided by the debtor at the time a debt was incurred.

  • Establish a safe harbor for autodialed “wrong number” non-telemarketing calls to wireless numbers.

Shortly after receipt of ACA’s petition, it is anticipated that FCC staff will make the petition public and a 30-day comment period will commence.  It will be followed by a 15-day reply period for comments submitted.  The FCC will then determine whether, and if so, when, a clarifying rule would be appropriate.

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