FCC Proposes Revocation Rules

TCPA Connect

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has published a new Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) focused on the issue of revocation, seeking “to clarify and strengthen consumers’ ability to revoke consent to receive both robocalls and robotexts,” as well as “callers’ obligations under the Commission’s rules to honor such requests in a timely manner.”

Specifically, the agency proposed:

  • Revoking consent in any reasonable way. In 2015, the FCC issued a ruling confirming that consumers who provided prior express consent to receive autodialed or prerecorded voice calls may revoke such consent through any reasonable means. The agency plans to codify the holding into a rule, including allowing the use of words such as “stop,” “revoke,” “end” or “opt out” and prohibiting companies from infringing on that right by designating an exclusive means to revoke consent that precludes the use of any other reasonable method.

    Additionally, the FCC proposed that when the consumer uses a reasonable method to revoke consent—such as by text message, voicemail or email—doing so creates a presumption that the consumer has revoked consent, absent evidence to the contrary.

    The agency asked for comment on the presumption and the types of evidence that would suffice to rebut the presumption, as well as the scope of “reasonable” means to revoke.
  • Time frame for honoring a DNC or revocation request. Pursuant to the NPRM, callers would be required to honor company-specific do not call (DNC) and revocation of consent requests for robocalls and robotexts subject to the TCPA within 24 hours of receipt. The FCC requested comment on whether this time period is reasonable, noting that it believes that advances in technology over the years have made the processing of honoring such requests more efficient and timely than in the past.
  • Revocation confirmation text message. A one-time text message confirming a consumer’s request that no further text messages be sent does not violate the TCPA or the Commission’s rules, as long as the confirmation text merely confirms the called party’s opt-out request and does not include any marketing or promotional information and the text is the only additional message sent to the called party after receipt of the opt-out request, according to the proposal, which would codify the Soundbite Declaratory Ruling. The agency said it would emphasize the final one-time nature of the confirmation text message.
  • Wireless carrier calls to subscribers. The NPRM further proposes to require wireless providers to honor their customers’ requests to cease autodialed, prerecorded voice and artificial voice calls and autodialed texts by altering a prior ruling from 1992. Instead of a blanket exemption for all wireless calls for which the subscriber is not charged, the agency intends to create and codify a qualified exemption, based on authority under Section 227(b)(2)(C), for informational robocalls and robotexts from wireless providers to their subscribers.

    “We believe such an exemption … balances the privacy interests of the TCPA with the legitimate interests of wireless providers in communicating with their own subscribers,” the FCC explained.

To read the NPRM for CG 02-278, click here.

Why it matters

The NPRM is now open for public comment. While some of the agency’s proposals would codify existing interpretations of the TCPA—such as a consumer’s ability to revoke consent in any reasonable way—the NPRM contains some new requirements for callers, including the 24-hour time frame for honoring a DNC or revocation request.  



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