This week, new FCC implementation dates were published in the Federal Register. Previously, the FCC released a Report and Order in February 2012 that made major changes to the TCPA.
This long-awaited announcement starts the clock for the new rules as listed below:
November 15, 2012 is the date for the measurement of the abandoned call rate changes.
January 14, 2013 is the date requiring that prerecorded telemarketing messages include an automated opt-out mechanism.
October 16, 2013 is the date requiring companies to obtain prior written express consent from consumers before calling them with prerecorded telemarketing “robocalls” or before using an autodialer to call their wireless numbers with telemarketing messages.
Overall, the FCC Report and Order is positive and marks an end to two years of uncertainty surrounding the 2010 TCPA NPRM. Highlights of significance:
The FCC simply adopted rules that mirror the FTC rules on consent for prerecorded telemarketing calls that went into effect a few years ago. Those requirements will now apply to companies that are exempt from FTC jurisdiction, like telephone companies, banks, and airlines. The FCC retained its exception, however, for wireless carriers calling their own customers without charging them for the call.
The requirement for prior written express consent for telemarketing calls to wireless numbers applies to calls (voice and text) that are either autodialed or prerecorded. Under the new rules, telemarketing text messages will require prior written express consent, the same as prerecorded telemarketing messages. The same holds true for autodialed telemarketing calls to wireless phones using live operators (predictive calls).
SoundBite has been working with our clients over the past eight months to ensure our programs will meet these new guidelines, and we are confident that our solutions for compliance are firmly in place.
In addition to this significant development out of the FCC, the fun continues: three new petitions have been placed on public notices this week seeking clarification of the FCC’s TCPA rules. These petitions are important for further clarity on TCPA. In summary, (1) The petition filed by the Cargo Airline Association asks the FCC to clarify that package delivery companies can rely upon representations from senders that the package recipient consents to receiving autodialed and prerecorded calls to a wireless telephone number for purposes of notifications regarding shipment of the package, (2) The petition filed by Communication Innovators asks the FCC to clarify that predictive dialers that are not used for telemarketing purposes and do not have the current ability to generate and dial random or sequential numbers are not “automatic telephone dialing systems” under the TCPA or the Commission’s rules, (3) The petition filed by CallAssistant, LLC asks the FCC to clarify applicability of the Commission’s TCPA rules to CallAssistant’s use of operator supervised prerecorded call segments that enable calling agents to interact with the recipient of a call by using the agent’s own voice or by pressing a button to substitute an appropriate audio recording of a response.
Stay tuned..there is never a dull moment in the wild and woolly world of regulators.
As the Vice President of Product Management for SoundBite Communications, John is responsible for the strategic evolution and delivery of product features and functionality within the company’s cloud-based platforms – SoundBite Engage™ for multi-channel communications and SoundBite Insight for preference management.
John frequently participates in regulatory discussions which impact our clients including lobbying efforts with the ACA. He was recently awarded the 2010 President’s Award by the Telecommunications Risk Management Association (TRMA) for his role on a Regulatory Panel — the most highly evaluated session of 2010.
John has been working in the customer communications space for over 15 years, including a senior position at Nuance Communications.