TCPA Petition Could Cause Multiple Industries to Break Laws, Trade Groups Find

TCPA Petition Could Cause Multiple Industries to Break Laws, Trade Groups Find

In a joint letter to the FCC, trade groups highlight negative impacts the Petition for Rulemaking and Declaratory Ruling will have on businesses and consumers

Washington, D.C. – The American Financial Services Association, the Consumer Bankers Association, the Credit Union National Association, the Financial Services Roundtable, National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions, and the Electronic Transactions Association today sent a joint letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding the Petition for Rulemaking and Declaratory Ruling (petition) regarding prior express consent under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). In the letter, the trade groups request a denial of the petition and lay out seven reasons why it would prove harmful in today’s economy. The petition, which claims the FCC exceeded its authority in two previous orders, would create an unworkable standard to receive consent from consumers.

Of the most concerning items in the petition, the trade groups show how the petition could potentially cause companies to violate already established laws. The letter states:

“Not only do customers desire these communications, there are a multitude of laws that mandate Institutions contact their customers.  For example, mortgage servicing activity is governed by:

·         The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s “Early Intervention Rule,” which requires institutions to establish live contact or make a good faith effort to establish live contact with customers within 36 days after a mortgage loan becomes delinquent;

·         Fannie Mae’s “Quality Right Party Contact,” which is a standard that establishes a code of conduct for interactions with customers with delinquent debt that includes a requirement to establish a rapport with those customers and open an ongoing dialogue to attempt to resolve the delinquency in a positive manner, and

·         The Home Affordable Modification Program, which requires that institutions “proactively solicit” customers for inclusion in the program by making a minimum of four telephone calls to the customer at different times of day.”

 

In addition to highlighting the legal conflict the petition presents, the trade groups highlight the dampening effects such a petition, if granted, would have on customer-business communications. As a result, the groups ask the FCC to consider as part of its review the many critical and just reasons why a company would need to call a consumer, highlighting how companies often call to address an issue or provide a service.

“In the Senate report recommending the TCPA’s passage, the United States Senate recognized a “substantial governmental interest in protecting telephone subscribers’ privacy rights from unsolicited

telephone solicitations.” However, this is not the type of communications the Institutions are attempting to send, as discussed above. After receiving consent from their customer, they are seeking to send informational, non-telemarketing calls that consumers have requested and in many instances need.”

The petition fails to acknowledge today’s highly mobile economy and the fact that companies such as banks and internet providers call their customers to provide valuable information regarding the customer’s account and more. To read the joint trades letter to the FCC in full, please click here.