Eric Troutman of TCPAWorld.com has a great takedown of John Oliver’s segment on robocalls that aired this past Sunday, including debunking Oliver’s claim that the ruling in ACA International v. Federal Communications Commission is the reason why robocall volume has exploded.
Troutman called that part of the segment the “worst part of the bit,” and then goes on to say that the number of robocalls “exploded” after the FCC issued its Declaratory Ruling in July 2015, which led ACA to file its suit claiming the agency had overstepped its constitutional authority.
So whereas Oliver states that we had a “solution” to the robocall problem and then the courts ruined it he is just flat wrong. The FCC’s massive expansion of the TCPA did absolutely nothing to stop robocalls. The number of ‘robocalls’ literally quadrupled following the FCC ruling that Oliver touts as a solution.
The reason is simple – the TCPA does not prevent robocalls. You can expand the statute all you want and the bad guys will keep in coming. That’s because the TCPA is only – or mostly – enforced against legitimate business, who are not causing the problem.
Looking at the data, Troutman says, actual reveals that the 2015 Declaratory Ruling was the time when robocall volume started to take off, and not 30 months later when the D.C. Court of Appeals ruled on the lawsuit.
In speaking with a number of industry professionals in the days since Oliver’s segment aired, there has been a chorus of complaints that Oliver’s claim completely mis-represented the nature of ACA’s suit and incorrectly placed the blame on its outcome. The suit had nothing to do with robocalls and had everything to do with ACA claiming — rightfully so, it was found — that the FCC overstepped its authority with the changes it made to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.