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Focus on Regulation

Bills Introduced to Amend the Telephone Consumer Protection Act

Both Chambers of Congress are considering legislation that would amend the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”).  Introduced in the House by Congressman Pallone (H.R. 6026) and in the Senate (S. 3078) by Senator Markey, the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act adds a new definition, “robocall,” in place of “automated telephone dialing system.”  The new term would include devices that make calls using “numbers stored on a list” (in addition to dialing random or sequential numbers).  The new definition clarifies that robocalls do not include using equipment where “substantial additional human intervention” is required to place the call.

The bills would also require the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) to establish a nationwide database of reassigned telephone numbers.  In addition, they would require the FCC to implement caller ID verification regulations under which voice service providers would have to ensure that information is accurate and prevent calls from connecting where such verification cannot be made.

The bills would also extend the statute of limitations for FCC enforcement of TCPA violations from 1 year to 4 years.

How We Can Help
Our TCPA Working Group brings together more than 25 attorneys in our litigation, communications, commercial, and privacy practice areas.  We provide regular TCPA counseling to clients from a broad range of industries, including technology, healthcare, communications, transportation, and financial services.  We have secured dismissals and nominal settlements for clients in TCPA actions and have worked with the FCC to clarify rules addressing a number of key TCPA issues.  We also have significant experience in TCPA appeals.

The author wishes to thank Ryan Thompson in the Hogan Lovells D.C. office for his assistance in preparing this article.