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Breaking Down the FCC’s Recent TCPA Ruling

Breaking Down the FCC’s Recent TCPA Ruling text overlaying image of a gavel on a tableOn Wednesday Dec 13, 2023 the FCC passed its new ruling on TCPA that changes the way express written consent is defined. The ruling passed relatively easily with only one commissioner dissenting. The results were a final vote of 4-1 in favor of the new change. The alteration aims to reduce the number of unwanted sales calls that a given consumer receives. However, it has major implications on the way lead generation companies, and their buyers operate. The mandate says that calls being made to consumers using regulated technology (such as robocalls and robotexts) must only be made by one “seller” if they have received express written consent. This verbiage can come off as a bit wishy-washy. Here’s a breakdown of what the ruling really means in layman’s terms: 

 

  • The most important outcome is — the new definition of express written consent is explained as an agreement that “authorizes not more than one identified seller” to contact any one consumer. This means that lead generators can now only sell customer information to a single business (with the consumer’s consent). This is unless the consumer otherwise expresses consent to additional business contacting them. 
  • Do-Not-Call protections now extend to text messages. According to the ruling, a texting party must now have the consumers express consent or permission before sending a marketing text to a wireless number that is present on the Do-Not-Call registry. 
  • The ruling states that calls have to be “logically and topically associated with the interaction that prompted the consent.”
  • Lead buyers must now have their own documentation proving consent of a call. In the past, as long as the  seller had documentation of consent, the buyer was “in the clear.” That’s no longer the case. 
  • If a robocall or robotext is considered to be telemarketing, there must be prior express consent in writing
  • Because the new definition of express consent requires a one-to-one connection, a variety of lead generation methods will no longer be legal. These methods include: ping-post leads, co-reg leads, aged leads, sweepstake site leads and multi-vertical leads. 

What Happens Next? 

Though the TCPA ruling has been officially passed, some things need to take place before it becomes law. First, it will need to go through a review. After the review it then has to be published in the federal registrar. This will likely happen in January or February of 2024. Then six months from the date of publication, it will become effective.

As you might think, there are many individuals and businesses up in arms about this change. In fact, there are a number of organizations who are pushing to appeal the ruling altogether. Under the Hobbs Act, “any party aggrieved by the final order” may take action as long as it is completed “within 60 days after its entry…”. Some parties who have expressed interest in fighting the ruling include:

  • CTIA
  • R.E.A.C.H.
  • LendingTree
  • NetNumber
  • The Insurance Marketing Coalition
  • QuinStreet
  • The Solar Energy Industries Association
  • And many more

While everyone understands the overall goal of the new ruling — to limit unwanted calls to consumers — the above listed organizations (and many more) insist that it is a huge overreach of government, which threatens the livelihood of hundreds of B2C companies across the country.

 

So, if you’re interested in learning more about the FCC’s new TCPA guidelines and the future implications that they will have, we’re holding a live Q&A Webinar on December 21st at 12 PM EST. Joining us is the CEO of Benepath, Clelland Green, the owner of boberdoo, Brad Seiler, and the Sales & Marketing Manager at boberdoo, Scott Hettman. The webinar will focus on what the ruling truly means for the lead generation industry. The webinar will also give attendees a chance to ask questions revolving around the changes. To gain access to the webinar, sign up here: https://www.benepath.net/navigating-lead-generation-with-tcpa-regulation-changes-webinar/

About The Author: Cassandra Love

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