ACA International Challenges Stopping Bad Robocalls Act

While on the surface the Act sounds positive, it could limit legitimate businesses’ communication with consumers.

2/6/2019 4:00 PM

ACA International Challenges Stopping Bad Robocalls Act

ACA International CEO Mark Neeb addressed concerns with the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act Feb. 6 in a letter to House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, D-N.J., and ranking member Greg Walden, R-Ore.

Pallone reintroduced the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act, H.R. 946, in the 116th Congress. In the last Congress there were companion versions of the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act introduced in both the House and Senate.

“While the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act on its face sounds positive, implying that it addresses bad and illegal actors making abusive robocalls, in reality it is not appropriately tailored to achieving that objective,” Neeb said.

Pallone’s bill would direct the Federal Communications Commission to expand the definition of an autodialer, despite that it was struck down already as arbitrary and capricious in the ACA International decision in the D.C. Circuit. Specifically, the bill would define a “robocall” as a call or text message made using equipment that makes a series of calls to stored telephone numbers, including telephone numbers stored on a list, or to telephone numbers produced using a random or sequential number generator; or a call made using an artificial or prerecorded voice. 

Despite its purported efforts to curtail practices harming consumers, in practicality this legislation would harm businesses seeking to make informational calls to consumers about needed information. Specifically, the overly broad characterization of what is considered a “robocall” and the proposed expanded definition of what is considered an autodialer are very problematic.

“If the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act was appropriately tailored to focus on bad actors that are making abusive and illegal robocalls, we would be in staunch support of such efforts,” Neeb said. “ACA members strongly agree that consumers deserve to be treated fairly and respectfully. However, the bill is not tailored to that goal and it instead does more harm than good by creating additional confusion, in determining how to comply with the TCPA.”

Given the risk this legislation will make it harder for legitimate businesses to contact consumers and for those consumers to receive necessary information for access to credit, health services and more, it should be withdrawn or amended.

Read the complete letter from CEO Mark Neeb on ACA’s TCPA Regulatory Advocacy website.

Related Content from ACA International:

U.S. Rep. Pallone Reintroduces Bill to Expand Autodialer Definition

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