AFSA Supports Petition for Declaratory Ruling to FCC

Today, the American Financial Services Association AFSA sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) supporting All About the Message, LLC’s (AATM) petition for a declaratory ruling. AATM requested that the FCC “declare that the delivery of a voice message directly to a voicemail box does not constitute a call that is subject to the prohibition on the use of an automatic telephone dialing system (‘ATDS’) or an artificial or prerecorded voice” under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

AFSA agrees with AATM’s statement that, “The TCPA does not impose liability for voicemail messages, delivered directly to a voicemail service provider, that never pass through a person’s cellular telephone line, and never result in a charge to the subscriber for the delivery of the message.”

AFSA’s letter stressed that direct to voicemail technology could greatly improve the customer experience by reducing the times a customer’s mobile phone rings and allowing the customer to call the business back at their convenience. The technology also allows customers to receive important messages without being charged.

Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass) said, “Congress passed the TCPA with this key goal in mind: consumers should not be subject to intrusive and unsolicited calls on their mobile phones.”

The AFSA letter also suggested several areas where the FCC may wish to institute basic requirements to ensure that consumers are adequately protected. For example, the Commission could require that each message contain the name of the business leaving the message, a phone number to call the business, and instructions for how to stop any future messages. The letter also suggested that the FCC declare that the delivery of voice messages in this form does not constitute a call prohibited by the TCPA.

The TCPA was passed in 1991, pre-dating today’s consumer electronics technology.