The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC)interpretation of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 unfortunately mirrors its Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) omnibus declaratory ruling by failing to understand the need to communicate with consumers in a timely and efficient manner. That’s what CUNA told the FCC in a comment letter filed Friday on the FCC’s implementation of TCPA amendments in the Budget Act.
The Budget Act, signed into law in late 2015, amended the TCPA so that calls using an autodialer, “made solely pursuant to the collection of a debt owed to or guaranteed by the United States,” are exempt from the requirement to obtain prior express consent from the debtor. The act required implementation of this law within 9 months.
“When implementing the Budget Act, the FCC should consider the concerns that Congress and the President had with the limitations the TCPA places on the ability of a variety of businesses to contact consumers with information that they want and need,” CUNA wrote. “In accordance with this consideration, it should address those concerns on a broader level to not only include debts owed to or guaranteed by the federal government, but also provide more than artificial relief to financial institutions seeking to communicate with consumers on their cellular phones.”
CUNA’s letter raises 3 specific points:
“The FCC’s proposal once again takes an unreasonable approach to applying the language of the TCPA to consumers’ use of modern technology, and disregards consumers’ preferences for communicating using their cellular phones,” CUNA’s letter reads. “Unfortunately, as a result, consumers in financial distress may not be able to receive important information about their accounts, which is necessary to improve their situation.”
For an in-depth look at this issue, see CUNA’s Removing Barriers Blog post on the proposal and CUNA’s comment letter.