The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) regulates the sending of commercial messages via telephone, text messages, and fax. Specifically, the TCPA makes it unlawful for any person to place a call or text using an automatic telephone dialing system or an artificial or prerecorded voice without the called party’s prior express consent, except for emergency purposes.1
Key issues in developing a TCPA compliance program include:
- Consent. Under the TCPA, covered entities may place calls to individuals only with the prior express consent of the called party. For noncommercial, informational texts, that consent may be oral. For commercial texts, consent must be in writing. A consenting party may revoke his or her consent at any time and through any reasonable means, and a sender may not limit the manner in which revocation may occur.2
- National Do Not Call Registry. The TCPA rules provide for the National Do Not Call Registry (Registry), a joint effort launched by the FCC and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 2003. Consumers can register landline or mobile phone numbers with the Registry to limit telemarketing calls that may be made to them. Telemarketers are required to access the registry prior to making any unsolicited phone calls and to update their internal call lists every 31 days to reflect changes in the Registry.3
1 47 USC § 227.
2 Id. § 227(b)(1).
3 Id. § 227(c)(1)(a); 16 CFR § 310.4.