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TCPA: The Intersection of Connectivity and Consumer Protection
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Mobile devices have become indispensable, with consumers relying on them for almost anything and everything -- to find information, buy products, pay bills, connect with friends or simply be entertained. But before attempting to leverage mobile technology as the powerful marketing communication tool it has already proven to be, companies need to know and understand the ground rules; specifically, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and its implementing regulations. Ignorance is not bliss when even a single allegation that you have violated the TCPA can have serious legal, financial, insurance and reputational consequences.
Unlike most other law firms, whose capabilities and experience with TCPA matters are limited at best, Manatt has a deep and dedicated team that is uniquely equipped to advise on the Act’s varied and complex challenges. And while other firms may provide an overview of the TCPA, or step in to defend you if you’re sued, we provide an integrated and cohesive approach that covers all of the law’s implications and ramifications, from ensuring compliance to fending off or defeating class actions to handling insurance coverage issues. Our 360-degree view is the result of decades of experience counseling major B2C and B2B companies regarding telephone marketing, as well as the call centers and telemarketing solutions providers that serve them. And because we’ve been in the trenches, we’re familiar with and unfazed by the tactics of plaintiffs’ counsel, savvy in assessing the obligations of insurance carriers, and creative in formulating defenses to classwide claims.
ComplianceBack when 900 numbers were all the rage, Manatt attorneys were at the forefront of the legal profession in advising clients on the issues and implications posed by this unique billing mechanism. And when the Federal Trade Commission developed the Telephone Sales Rule, we were front and center in assisting industry leaders in drafting and filing comments on their behalf. Fast-forward to the age of mobile communications and the close-on-its-heels emergence of autodialing, text and prerecorded messaging, and Manatt is at the forefront again, helping clients structure campaigns that will achieve their marketing objectives in a statutorily compliant manner. We roll up our sleeves and work through the details, right alongside our clients, in developing marketing strategies and campaigns, spotting issues and framing solutions as needed. Our team includes former FTC attorneys and in-house marketing compliance counsel, so we know how to balance the needs of structuring compliant programs with practical business needs.
Our experience allows us to see the big picture to get the job done.
Consumer Class Action DefenseManatt has defended dozens of companies, of all sizes and in various industries, that have been sued by class action lawyers alleging violations of the TCPA. To protect consumers against unwanted solicitation, the statute covers a broad range of conduct, and the allegations we’ve been asked to defend have run the gamut, from calls and text messages to cell phones to ads sent to fax machines. By way of example:
Our track record speaks for itself when it comes to challenging and defeating TCPA actions.
Insurance Coverage Disputes A significant legal issue that may not immediately come to mind when a business is on the receiving end of a TCPA lawsuit involves insurance coverage. Unlike firms whose practice is limited to providing compliance advice or answering a complaint, our comprehensive approach includes assisting policyholder clients with coverage issues. Defending against a class action (or actions) alleging that unsolicited messages harmed tens of thousands of putative members can be costly, and settlements can be sizable. We are fully familiar with the arguments insurers use to deny coverage in TCPA suits because we’ve defended against them. More important, we’ve done so successfully, convincing carriers to fund the defense of such actions and, in some cases, to pay significant portions of settlements. In addition to helping facilitate claims and settlements, we also review general commercial liability policies at the outset of a marketing campaign to determine whether there’s adequate coverage and, if not, assist clients in obtaining the appropriate coverage.
Our goal is simple: to help clients secure the insurance protection they seek and to see to it that carriers make good on their coverage obligations when a claim arises.
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