In the face of continued uncertainty and apparent stalls in anything resembling forward progress, ACA International participated in another push last week to reform the outdated Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
A letter was issued to the FCC requesting necessary changes and updates to TCPA. From ACA International's website:
The letter asks the FCC to expeditiously address the issues raised in the numerous Telephone Consumer Protection Act-related petitions that have been and continue to be filed with the agency. In addition, the letter helps demonstrate to the FCC the impact of the outdated TCPA on a variety of industries.
The key points of the letter include the following:
1. Wireless phones are used far differently in 2015 than they were in 1991
The upshot? 58.8 percent of American households do not even have a "land line" telephone. There are five demographic groups in which the majority of people live in households with only wireless telephones. This should not necessarily come as a surprise to anybody who is observant to see how much people rely on their cell phones, especially "smart phones." It should be common sense that a law that specifically addresses cell phones should be updated if it was originally written in 1991.
2. We desperately need to see regulatory clarity regarding the TCPA
The law, as it is supposed to address "automatic telephone dialing system," is interpreted inconsistently and is not being enforced as intended. It has become fodder for a number of vague discussions about what a dialing system can or cannot do rather than the basis for actual protection of consumers' rights.
Finally, the document outlines the fact that modernization of TCPA will benefit businesses and consumers alike. There is no reason for a consumer to miss a legal phone call that is intended to provide them with important information, yet that is exactly what is happening as businesses attempt to account for the murky nature of the TCPA. The need to update a law to reflect the reality of 2015 versus the reality of 1991 should be apparent, and the idea that these necessary updates would be a slippery slope to allow businesses to make abusive calls simply doesn't hold up.
The core of TCPA can remain in tact with these necessary updates, which ultimately is the main point made by ACA International and the other organizations who have submitted this letter. Hopefully the FCC recognizes the need for change.