On June 8, a bipartisan coalition of 28 attorneys general issued a letter, supporting the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) proposal to close a “loophole” that currently allows lead generators to collect and sell personal consumer information to third parties using a “single consumer consent,” typically leading to multiple consumer solicitations (telemarketing calls and/or texts) beyond the scope of the original consent. At present, lead generators commonly will offer quotes for goods or services stipulated on receiving consent to share the consumers’ personal information with their “marketing partners” — aka third-party solicitors.
According to Virginia AG Jason Miyares, “Sleazy ‘lead generators’ try to trick people into consenting to receive spam calls or texts from hundreds of companies they’ve never heard of and never want to hear from. We are asking the FCC to toughen the rules on consent requirements so [our constituents] only hear from organizations they agree to.” North Carolina AG Josh Stein added: “Robocalls and texts are not only annoying, they also put hard-working [consumers] at risk of being scammed.”
In their letter, AGs from Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming urged the FCC to eliminate “the current practices of the lead generation industry, unscrupulous voice service providers, and illegal robocallers” by adopting rules where consumers can consent to receive calls only from the original seller. They also requested that the amended rules include “‘clear and conspicuous disclosure’ of the consequences of providing the requested consent.”
Why It Matters
By urging the FCC to clarify and confirm its existing rules on “prior written express consent,” the 28 AGs demonstrate their commitment to better protecting consumers from unwanted scam calls and texts. Their recommendation to clearly ensure that “prior written express consent” applies only to an individual consumer and one specific seller shows the AGs’ determination to “shut down these unreliable and illegal methods of purportedly obtaining consent from consumers for marketing robocalls and texts.” Further, the AGs’ recommendation also aligns with the Federal Trade Commission’s analogous Telemarketing Sale Rule’s requirement for sellers to obtain “express, written agreement” from the called party.
Troutman Pepper State Attorneys General Team
|Ashley Taylor – Co-leader and Firm Vice Chair
Ashley is a partner in the firm’s Regulatory Investigations, Strategy + Enforcement (RISE) Practice Group and co-leader of the State Attorneys General practice. He focuses primarily on federal and state government regulatory and enforcement matters involving state attorneys general, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Drawing upon his experience as a deputy attorney general, Ashley has developed an extensive consumer practice with regard to the consumer financial services industry.
|Clay Friedman – Co-leader
Clay is a partner in the firm’s Regulatory Investigations, Strategy + Enforcement (RISE) Practice Group and co-leader of the State Attorneys General practice. Informed by nearly a decade in a state attorneys general office, and more than 25 years in private practice, Clay spends much of his time representing clients in singular or multistate regulatory actions. Clay has repeatedly led teams before all 50 state attorneys general and also handles matters with the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and other local, state and federal agencies.
Judy is a partner in the firm’s Regulatory Investigations, Strategy and Enforcement (RISE) practice, based in the Richmond office. She brings experience serving as chair and commissioner of the Virginia State Corporate Commission (VSCC) from 2006 through 2022, which includes regulating the utilities, insurance, banking, and securities industries. She also served as Virginia’s attorney general from 2005-2006.
Stephen represents clients interacting with, and being investigated by, state attorneys general and other enforcement bodies, including the CFPB and FTC, as well as clients involved with litigation, particularly in heavily regulated industries.
A former deputy attorney general of New York, Avi applies his experience in bet-the-company matters, representing clients in criminal and civil investigations and enforcement actions before state and federal regulators, prosecutors and enforcement agencies.
Michael handles high-profile state attorneys general, FTC, and CFPB investigations by advising clients through these complex government inquiries. He assists clients through the entire life cycle of investigations, from regulatory enforcement through formal litigation.
As a former government official at the state and federal level, Ketan leverages extensive experience in the public and private sectors to skillfully represent client interests.
Tim is an attorney in the firm’s Regulatory Investigations, Strategy + Enforcement (RISE) Practice Group, with a primary focus on financial services litigation.
Chris represents clients in regulatory, civil and criminal investigations and litigation. In his practice, Chris regularly employs his prior regulatory experience to benefit clients who are interacting with and being investigated by state attorneys general.
Natalia is an associate in the firm’s business litigation practice. She recently received her J.D from the University of California, Davis School of Law.
Namrata is an associate in the firm’s Regulatory Investigations, Strategy + Enforcement (RISE) Practice Group, based in the Washington, D.C. office. Her work includes advising clients in regulatory investigations and compliance matters, in addition to representing clients in civil litigation matters.
Susan is an associate in the firm’s Consumer Financial Services Practice Group, and focuses her practice on consumer financial services matters. She has defended several of the nation’s largest and most influential financial institutions in individual and class action litigation involving the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), and other consumer privacy statutes. Susan also represents banks, fintechs, and financial services companies in connection with regulatory examinations and investigations brought by the CFPB, state attorneys general, and the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation.
John represents clients in a wide variety of general and complex litigation matters, shareholder disputes, products liability, and privacy claims.
Whitney is an attorney in the firm’s Regulatory Investigations, Strategy + Enforcement (RISE) Practice Group. She represents clients facing state and federal regulatory investigations and enforcement actions, as well as related civil litigation.
Trey is an associate in the firm’s Regulatory Investigations, Strategy + Enforcement practice. His experience includes serving as a summer associate at the firm in 2021.
An experienced litigator, Daniel advises and represents regional, national and international companies, financial institutions and insurers in all facets of business, complex commercial and insurance coverage litigation. He is committed to working with his clients to find creative solutions to meet their needs.
Stephanie is Troutman Pepper’s senior government relations manager in the state attorneys general department.