The American Bankers Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and several other members of industry today asked the Federal Communications Commission for new rules that would ensure that customers can receive important communications from banks and other businesses.
In their joint petition to the FCC, the groups asked the FCC to issue a new interpretation of a key term in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act — the definition of an “automatic telephone dialing system,” commonly known as an “autodialer.” The TCPA imposes restrictions on calls made by banks and other businesses when using an autodialer. The petition comes after a federal appellate court in March struck down the portion of a 2015 FCC order that had defined “autodialer” expansively to include, for example, ordinary smartphones — and potentially covering nearly every type of dialing equipment that a bank or other business would use to call their customers.
“The TCPA landscape is dysfunctional and in need of clarity from the FCC,” the groups wrote to the FCC. “The statute, originally intended to target a specific abusive telemarketing practice, has been expanded by courts and the FCC, turning it into a breeding ground for frivolous lawsuits against legitimate businesses trying to communicate with their customers.” If the FCC reinterprets the term autodialer in line with the TCPA’s text and congressional intent, it would significantly reduce the number of calls made by banks that are subject to the TCPA’s restrictions, lowering banks’ compliance and litigation costs.