ABA to FCC: Protect critical calls to bank customers

The American Bankers Association and seven trade associations on Wednesday urged the Federal Communications Commission to protect the ability of banks to place critical calls—such as fraud alerts—as the agency reconsiders its rules regarding a customer’s right to revoke consent to receive autodialed or prerecorded voice calls.

Under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, with limited exceptions, a bank or other business can place an autodialed or prerecorded voice call or text message only with the prior express consent of the called party. Consumers have the right to revoke their consent to receive such calls. In a draft order to be voted on Feb. 15, the FCC proposed to expand upon its 2015 ruling that stated consumers may revoke their consent through “any reasonable means.”

In a letter and in meetings with FCC staff, the associations urged the agency to allow businesses to interpret a consumer’s revocation request as not applying to fraud alerts, breach notifications, utility alerts and multifactor authentication text messages, absent a specific direction from the consumer. The groups also asked the FCC to place the burden on the consumer, not the business, to prove the consumer revoked consent when the consumer uses a non-standard word to revoke consent—that is, any word other than “stop,” “quit,” “end,” “revoke,” “opt out,” “cancel” or “unsubscribe.”

In addition, the groups asked the FCC to give businesses until the next business day—not five minutes, as the FCC proposed—to send a one-time text message, in response to the consumer’s revocation request, to the consumer to clarify the scope of the revocation.