Like Annoying Robocall Solicitations? The FCC Is About To Let The Financial Industry Bombard You With More
The finance industry is pushing the FCC to make revisions to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act or TCPA. They want to make it easier to bombard you with robocall solicitations and collection calls. The TCPA revisions would also make it harder to sue telemarketing companies and lenders who harass consumers.
There are 17 signatories to the petition. The signatories make up a who’s who of the financial industry. They include the American Bankers Association, Credit Union National Association, and the Mortgage Bankers Association. Other banking, credit union, and mortgage industry groups also signed the petition.
They are seeking a declaratory ruling based on an appellate court win by the financial industry. The D.C Court of Appeals vacated much of a 2015 FCC ruling on the use of autodialers to call cell phones. An earlier court ruling said any device capable of making an automated call was subject to the TCPA.
Michael Goodman, an attorney with Hudson Cook stated:
It is quite likely the FCC will agree with what the petitioners are seeking since FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has stated his opposition to the 2015 ruling.
Lawsuits For Illegal Robocall Solicitations And TCPA Actions Have Skyrocketed
Violations can also be costly under the current ruling. Damages are set at a minimum of $500 per call or per text and the courts can triple that for a knowing or willful violation. As a result, consumer lawyers see this as low-hanging fruit for easy attorney fees and damage awards.
In July 2017, Ocwen Financial Corp. agreed to settle two TCPA cases for a combined $17.5 million.
TCPA actions have also increased across all industries. Consumers filed 4,392 TCPA lawsuits in 2017 compared to 14 in 2007. There were 954 TCPA cases filed for the first quarter of 2018. This is a decline of 21% from the same period in 2017.
Meanwhile, Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, proposed the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act, which if passed and signed into law would put more teeth into the TCPA.
Pallone told National Mortage News:
The Stopping Bad Robocalls Act would empower the FCC and the Federal Trade Commission to put an end to the annoying robocalls consumers face day in and day out. Unfortunately, robocalls are proliferating and our agencies need new tools and authorities for the 21st century to better protect consumers from the abusive practices these robocallers are employing.