FCC Updates Consumer Consent Rules
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has updated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) to require companies to honor consumer requests to be removed from calling or texting lists within 24 hours. The existing laws required companies to make these changes within 30 days of receiving these requests.
The TCPA also bars companies from placing many types of calls or sending texts without first having obtained the consent of the called party. Consumers also have the right to revoke that consent.
The FCC noted that changes in technology, including automated and interactive technologies, justify a 24-hour time frame. The Commission has also exempted certain types of calls from the TCPA’s consent requirement, such as fraud alerts or health notifications. Requests to opt-out of such messages must be implemented immediately.
The current law also allows consumers to revoke consent "by any reasonable means." The new rules would codify the "by-any-reasonable-means" requirement to include texting, voicemail or email to "any telephone number or email address at which the consumer can reasonably expect to reach the caller." Coupled with the 24-hour rule, the FCC will need to ensure that the method chosen by the consumer is one that enables the company to act on the request within that time frame.
The current law also allows companies to send one text confirming revocation without violating the TCPA, as long as the text does not include marketing material. The FCC is codifying that because in some instances, consumers might have consented to receive communications relating to some information and it might be unclear whether that revocation applies to one or all of those categories. The FCC is amending the rules to allow companies to ask for clarification on the scope of the revocation in a one-time confirmation message. If the consumer fails to respond, the company must assume that the consumer's revocation applies to all robocalls or robotexts.