The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a declaratory ruling last week clarifying that the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) does not apply to calls made by or on behalf of the federal government. This applies as long as the call is made in the conduct of official government businesses, except when a call by a contractor does not comply with the government’s instructions.
The TCPA continues to apply to non-governmental activities, including political campaign events conducted by federal officeholders.
The TCPA prohibits “any person within the United States, or any person outside the United States if the recipient is within the United States,” from placing autodialed or prerecorded- or artificial-voice calls to wireless telephone numbers, except with the prior express consent of the called party or in an emergency.
Prior express written consent is required for all telemarketing calls/text messages made to cell phones using an autodialer or prerecorded message.
The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 created a TCPA exemption for calls placed solely to collect a debt owed to or guaranteed by the United States. The FCC proposed implementing regulations in May, with a final regulation expected in August.