CUNA files brief bringing TCPA concerns to U.S. Supreme Court

November 21, 2019

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TPCA) as currently implemented harms credit union members by hindering the flow of important information and forces them to bear the costs of TCPA lawsuits, CUNA wrote in an amicus brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday. CUNA filed its brief in Duguid v. Facebook, saying it believes the Ninth Circuit Court’s previous decision is "fundamentally flawed."

“Navigating this complex and opaque legal and regulatory quagmire is particularly problematic for the thousands of small credit unions that serve rural or economically disadvantaged communities underserved by traditional banking institutions…To avoid potentially crippling TCPA litigation, credit unions have abandoned efficient calling technologies,” the brief reads. “Notifications of critical importance to members—such as notices of past due payments or fraud alerts—are delayed or not made at all.”

CUNA has previously advocated to Congress (including emails to all 535 Congressional offices) and the Federal Communications Commission for clarity regarding the TCPA. This lack of clarity has left credit unions unclear as to whether they would face legal action while trying to communicate account information to members.

This confusion occurs as federal regulators, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, have urged depository institutions to use technology to ensure consumers are informed about their finances and potential issues.

“Credit unions seeking to comply with the TCPA confront a fractured and confusing legal landscape where any misstep—such as inadvertently calling a wrong number, misapplying one of the many content-based exemptions, or using modern telephone systems—could lead to strict liability for uncapped statutory damages ranging from $500 to $1500 per call or text message,” the brief reads. “TCPA class action awards often reach into the tens of millions of dollars. In light of the staggering statutory damages, and with no good faith exception to liability, TCPA lawsuits have become ubiquitous. The ever-present threat of litigation severely hampers credit unions’ ability to communicate with their members.”