Legislation Proposed in House and Senate Addressing the Definition of "Robocalls," Revocation and Re-Assigned Numbers

Both the House and Senate have proposed legislation that could have profound implications on TCPA litigation. The companion legislation introduced by Democratic Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. and Senator Ed Markey entitled "Stopping Bad Robocalls Act" seeks to, among other things:

  • Defines a "Robocall": As a call or text using equipment that makes a series of calls to stored telephone numbers, including numbers stored on a list, or to telephone numbers produced using a random or sequential number generator, except for calls made using only equipment that the caller demonstrates requires substantial human intervention to dial or place a call after a human initiates the series of calls, or using an artificial or prerecorded voice.
  • Allows Revocation of Consent: At any time in any reasonable manner, regardless of the context in which it was provided.
  • Requires Creation of Reassigned Number Database: Instructs the FCC to establish a nationwide database of telephone numbers that have been reassigned in order to provide persons making calls with comprehensive and timely information to avoid making calls without prior express consent of the called party because of the reassignment of the number to a different party. It is the FCC's obligation to ensure the information is up-to-date.
  • Creating a Safe Harbor For Calls To Reassigned Numbers: In the case of calls made to a reassigned number from a subscriber who had given prior express consent to the caller, the caller shall not be in violation of the TCPA if: (1) The caller had prior express consent of the subscriber and the consent had not been revoked at the time of the call; (2) The caller queried the data-base before making the call, the query did not show the number was reassigned, and the caller made the call within a reasonable period of time (to be defined by the FCC); (3) The query did not show the number as being reassigned as a result of an inaccuracy of the FCC, a covered provider in reassigning the number or in making a report to the database; (4) The caller did not otherwise know or have reason to know that the number had been reassigned; (5) The call would comply with the TCPA but for lack of prior express consent; and (6) The caller took affirmative steps to correct its internal records with respect to the number and reported any inaccuracy the caller discovers with respect to the number in the database.

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