ABA Supports TCPA Safe Harbor for Technical Errors

In a joint comment letter with the Financial Services Roundtable and the Consumer Bankers Association yesterday, ABA supported a petition from ContextMedia, Inc. (doing business as Outcome Health) calling on the Federal Communications Commission to clarify that callers that make good-faith efforts to comply with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act should be afforded protection from liability for undetected technical errors.

The TCPA imposes significant liability for callers that fail to honor a consumer’s request not to receive autodialed calls or text messages, even — as was the case with Outcome Health — when the company had made a good-faith effort to comply with opt-out requests. Outcome is currently facing a $192 million lawsuit due to an alleged technical error in processing opt-out requests that led to text messages being sent in error.

The associations added that the FCC’s broad interpretations of the TCPA have made the statute a frequent vehicle for lawsuit abuse, with more and more lawsuits being filed by trial lawyers each year. “The number of lawsuits demanding awards of statutory damages because of inadvertent and good faith calls continues to grow,” the associations noted.  “The potential liability for making these calls — and the draconian litigation costs that must be incurred to defend against the resulting lawsuits — threatens to curtail important and valued communications between financial institutions and their customers.” For more information, contact ABA’s Jonathan Thessin.