The Federal Communications Commission recently released its omnibus declaratory ruling and order on the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), 47 U.S.C Section 227, to provide clarification on the TCPA to consumer and telemarketers July 10. This article provides an overview of some of the guidance provided by the FCC.

In 1991, Congress enacted the TCPA in response to complaints regarding automated or prerecorded telephone calls, which were viewed as nuisance and invasion of privacy. The TCPA allows consumers to opt to receive robocalls and text messages from telemarketers. In the event that a consumer receives an unsolicited robocall or email, the TCPA provides a remedy of $500 per telephone call and treble damages for a willful violation. The FCC received over 215,000 complaints over the use of robocalls from the public in 2014. Because the TCPA provides a private remedy, there have been several multimillion-dollar class action settlements for TCPA violations, with a noteworthy $40 million dollar settlement in Wilkins v. HSBC Bank Nevada, No. 14 C 190 (Feb. 27, 2015, N.D. Illinois), earlier this year.

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