Can You Hear Me Now? ‘Vague Language’ Needs To Be Cleared Up, NAFCU Tells FCC


WASHINGTON—The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is being urged to provide clear guidance on the Telephone Consumer Protection Act's (TCPA) “vague” language.

NAFCU, in a letter to the FCC, again told the agency that financial institutions have ceased important communications with members about their accounts over fear of inadvertently violating the rule.

Ann Kossachev, NAFCU's regulatory affairs counsel, sent the letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to follow up on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit's decision in a lawsuit stemming from a declaratory ruling and order the FCC issued in July 2015 that provides limited exemptions under the TCPA for financial institutions making free autodialed calls to consumers. The court invalidated the FCC's definition of "autodialer" and rejected the commission's interpretation of when a caller violates the TCPA by calling a reassigned number.

In the letter, Kossachev thanked Pai for his efforts to address issues with the 2015 order, but noted the court decision left some questions unanswered:

  • Kossachev called on the FCC to "move forward with further clarifications and interpretations regarding the issues the court invalidated…so that industries and consumers alike have clear guidelines moving forward."
  • Kossachev also requested the commission reverse its approach to the revocation of consent provision, which the court upheld, to ensure "credit unions are no longer exposed to limitless liability."

NAFCU's letter came as the FCC met last week and discussed a second further notice of proposed rulemaking related to calls made to reassigned numbers; NAFCU has voiced its support for the creation of a reassigned numbers database overseen by the FCC. While the commission approved of the notice, members acknowledged that it would have to be reevaluated after the recent court decision as it relates to the standard of liability for calls made to reassigned numbers.

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