The FCC recently issued a Declaratory Ruling and Order on the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) – and that order highlights many issues with broadcasters who use texts or outbound automated calls to the mobile devices of viewers and listeners. In fact, today the FCC released a Notice of Apparent Liability proposing to fine a travel marketing company $2,960,000 for robocalls to households on the Do-Not-Call list, without having any consent from the recipients of the calls. Certain practices of broadcasters could arguably come under TCPA prohibitions. Thus, Josh Bercu, an attorney in my firm, has prepared the following warning for broadcasters about their potential liability under the TCPA.
Last month, the FCC released a Declaratory Ruling and Order addressing 21 separate requests for clarification and other action regarding the TCPA, a law that restricts businesses and organizations from making calls and texts to consumers’ residential and wireless phones without having first received very specific permission from the recipient. Sending texts to broadcast station viewers or listeners who are contained in a station’s loyal listener or loyal viewer clubs can lead to liability if the proper releases are not obtained, and collecting text addresses from contest participants and adding them to station databases can similarly be problematic. Because violations of the TCPA can result in civil liability of $500 to $1500 per call or text plus FCC fines, and as there have been a number of law firms around the country that have been active in filing class action suits against businesses to collect those potentially very high per-call damages, broadcasters need to ensure that their practices comply with the TCPA and the FCC’s rules which implement the Act. While the recent Order provided some specific relief in limited circumstances to businesses, it leaves many well-intentioned companies, including broadcasters, at risk as they try to contact their viewers and listeners. Below we address some commonly asked questions about how the TCPA may apply to broadcasters.
Continue Reading How Broadcasters Could Have Big Liability For Texts And Calls under The FCC’s Recent Order on The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)