Trades: FCC Overstepped Authority in TCPA Exemption Final Rules

In a joint comment letter to the Federal Communications Commission this weekend, ABA and the Consumer Bankers Association urged the FCC to facilitate — not impair — important communications between lenders and borrowers of debt owed to or guaranteed by the federal government, including calls made to service federally guaranteed or insured mortgages or federal student loans.

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 exempted these types of calls from the Telephone Consumer Protection Act’s prior express consent requirements that, with limited exceptions, a caller must obtain the called party’s consent prior to making an autodialed or prerecorded call. However, the FCC recently issued final rules imposing limitations on the use of the exemption — for instance, limiting the number of call attempts regardless of whether live contact was made with the borrower.

In issuing the final rules, the associations said the FCC exceeded its statutory authority, imposing limitations that are contrary to congressional intent and inconsistent with legal mandates from other federal agencies that are designed to facilitate loss mitigation and assistance to delinquent borrowers. The associations urged the commission — now led by Acting Chairman Ajit Pai, a Republican who voted against the final rules last year — to harmonize its rule with well-established servicing practices and regulatory requirements.

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