Last month, 4.1 billion robocalls were made to American consumers according to Forbes. The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) has been responsible for managing illegal autodialer robocall harassment since the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) was signed in 1991. However, a recent court decision requires the FCC to reevaluate how to handle those pestering autodialer robocall harassment calls.
The U.S. federal appeals court in Washington D.C. determined in March that the current definition of autodialer could be applicable to smartphones. As such, it must be redefined for autodialer robocall harassment. Revoking consent to be robocalled by any “reasonable means” was upheld by the appellate court along with the time sensitive healthcare call exemption.
The FCC is now tasked with finding a refined definition of the automatic telephone dialing system for the TCPA. Currently, it is defined as equipment which has the capacity— (A) to store or produce telephone numbers to be called, using a random or sequential number generator; and (B) to dial such numbers. Now found to include smartphones with the assistance of electronic application to conduct such random number generated phone calls, the FCC must exclude them.
According to Carolyn Cart, deputy director of the National Consumer Law Center, the calling industry would like the term automatic telephone dialing system to be defined as very narrowly so it does not apply to anything. If virtually nothing would be considered an autodialer, the TCPA would effectively be eliminated from any practical application. This would leave consumers with no protection against autodialer robocall harassment.
Robocalls have increased over 30% since the begining of the year according to YouMail, the company that tracks the number of targeted robocalls. The abuse of robocalls has resulted in legitimate robocallers from getting through because people are no longer answering their phones. This results in them calling over and over again, according to YouMail.
The CEO of YouMail, Alex Quilici believes that as robocalling technology increases, scam calls will multiple in quantity, and may result in a people to never pick up the phone to avoid autodialer robocall harassment. If you are currently experiencing autodialer robocall harassment, contact Paramount Law today!