A lack of adapting to evolving technology and an explosion in the number of lawsuits filed alleging violations under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act are primary reasons why the law needs to be updated, according to a whitepaper published yesterday by ACA International.
ACA is currently involved in litigation against the Federal Communications Commission over the TCPA, after the agency overhauled the law in July 2015. A ruling on the lawsuit is expected any day.
One of the primary complaints related to the TCPA is its lack of addressing how technology has changed since the law was enacted in 1991, namely the advancement of cell phones, email, texting and other communication tools. Companies are not allowed to contact individuals on their mobile phones without expressed permission from the phones’ owners, even though more individuals have shunned traditional landline phones for going wireless.
The majority of households are now wireless only and do not have a landline phone, according to the whitepaper, and 73% of individuals between the ages of 25-29 live in a wireless-only household.
At the same time, there has been a 1,300% increase in the number of litigants suing companies for allegedly violating the TCPA, according to data compiled by WebRecon.
Modernization of the TCPA will ensure consumers are not deprived of normal, expected, and desired information, provide clarity for businesses to engage in targeted, bene cial communication with speci c consumers, and free the courts to attend to the needs of real victims of harassment and abuse. However, given present trends in wireless adoption, some consumers may be almost entirely excluded from legitimate business communications, particularly younger consumers who are beginning to gain nancial footing.
President Trump has made it clear that he wants federal agencies to cut back on regulations and other means of interfering with businesses. He has signed an executive order that requires agencies to remove two regulations for every one they enact, for example. The chairman of the FCC, Ajit Pai, is a Republican and a staunch anti-regulation advocate. A number of groups have already reached out to the FCC in an attempt to get them to update the TCPA, even as everyone awaits a ruling in the ACA’s lawsuit.