Are “ringless voicemail” calls exempt from the TCPA?

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) prohibits any person from making any call using an automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS) or prerecorded message to any cell phone number or other service for which the called party is charged without the prior express consent of the called party.  47 U.S.C. § 227(b)(1)(A)(iii).  For this reason, companies are constantly seeking alternative ways to communicate with consumers. 

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Justice Department Wins $280 Million Penalty against Dish Network – Where There Is Smoke There Is Fire

On June 5, 2017, Judge Sue E. Myerscough awarded the U.S. Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”), and the states of California, Illinois, and North Carolina $280 million in damages after concluding Dish Network (“Dish”) was responsible for millions of “do-not-call” violations over years of “careless and reckless conduct.”  See https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/documents/cases/dish_ilc_309cv3073_fact.pdf#page=451.

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Confused about the TCPA, TSR, FCC, and FTC? A Key to Acronyms and Jurisdiction

Multiple agencies, rules, exemptions and reversals have caused no end of confusion for some of my clients, and because many of these are known by their acronym, listening to a lawyer or reading an opinion letter can quickly seem like a game of Scrabble™.

In this article, I will attempt to provide definitions for commonly used acronyms, as well as which agencies are responsible for interpretation of which terms in an effort to reduce this confusion (all in a two-page article!)

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D.C. Circuit Invalidates FCC’s Junk Fax Opt-Out Rule for Solicited Faxes

On March 31, 2017, the D.C. Circuit invalidated the Federal Communications Commission rule that requires businesses to include opt-out notices on solicited fax advertisements.  The court ruled that the FCC lacks authority under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act to require disclosures or to regulate communications that were sent with the recipient’s consent.

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Federal judge rules Missouri Do-Not-Call List applies to professional fundraisers

On February 17, 2017, a district court in the Eastern District of Missouri ruled that a professional fundraiser violated the Missouri Do-Not-Call Law because it did not purchase and implement the Missouri Do-Not-Call List for calls made on behalf of nonprofits to solicit donations.  Mo. ex rel. Koster v. Automated Professional Marketing, et al., No. 15-cv-01621 (E.D. Mo. Feb 17, 2017).

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How to Evaluate the Legality of an Outbound Calling Campaign

I have probably reviewed thousands of outbound calling campaigns in an effort to ensure they comply with federal and state law.  I often use just two questions to determine compliance.  Now, for a short time only, I’ll give you these two questions FOR FREE!

  1. Do your calls comply with “do-not-call” list rules?
  2. For calls to cell phones, do they comply with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) “cell phone call ban[1]”?
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Dealing with the “Professional” Nuisance Plaintiff

Imagine you have a beautiful, ripe apple on your desk that you were saving for lunch.  You notice a fruit fly approaching it, and before you can swish it away, it eats one tiny bite of the apple.  Now if you kill the fruit fly, it will be crushed across your apple, so you let it buzz away.  An hour later, it comes back and eats another bite.  Again, you do not crush it because the whole apple might be ruined and it does not seem worth the effort.  Soon, your apple is ruined, and your office is filled with fruit flies.

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Plaintiffs Say TCPA is a Strict Liability Statute, but “Not So Fast” Says Pennsylvania Judge

As Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) class actions have exploded in frequency, defendants often claim they were unaware of the restriction or that a number had been reassigned to a new consumer or transferred from landline to cell phone, such that the business could not avoid violating the TCPA. 

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Common sense prevails as Court determines Defendant did not use an autodialer

When plaintiffs file class action lawsuits under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), they often challenge the definition of an “automatic telephone dialing system” (ATDS), i.e. an autodialer, as the TCPA prohibits calls to cell phones using an ATDS without the prior express consent of the called party.

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