On February 16, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) made a significant move to combat consumers’ receipt of unwanted communications. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) already regulates automated calls and texts absent an exemption or the prior express consent of the called party. The FCC has now adopted new measures aimed at empowering consumers with the option to further prevent automated calls and texts.

The FCC adopted the Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to streamline how an individual can easily revoke their consent to communication and require companies to execute these requests within a reasonable timeframe. Specifically:

  • The FCC’s recent actions effectively codify its 2015 ruling that consumers can revoke consent under the TCPA through any reasonable means.
  • The new rules also require that companies engaging in calling and texting activities must honor do-not-call and consent revocation requests within a reasonable time, not exceeding 10 business days from receipt.
  • FCC also clarified its 2012 ruling that a one-time text message confirming a consumer’s request that no further text messages be sent does not violate the TCPA. However, this is only if the confirmation text merely acknowledges the opt-out request and refrains from including any promotional content.

The FCC seeks comment on whether the TCPA applies to automated calls and texts from wireless providers to their own subscribers. It is also considering whether consumers should have the ability to revoke consent and stop such communications.

Why It Matters

This is the latest example of the FCC’s efforts to combat unwanted communications. In February, the FCC also clarified that restrictions on the use of “artificial or prerecorded voice” in the TCPA apply to calls that use artificial intelligence or simulate a human voice, which was supported by a bipartisan collation of 51 attorneys general.