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ACA Meets with FCC on Ringless Voicemail

ACA’s Advocacy team encourages FCC to provide notice for comment and seek stakeholder input before voting on the rule. Editor’s note: This article is available for members only.

02/22/2022 12:00 P.M.

2 minute read

ACA International is advocating with the Federal Communications Commission to follow standard procedure before moving forward with a Declaratory Ruling and Order that, if adopted, would require callers to obtain consent before using ringless voicemail technology to contact consumers and classify ringless voicemails as calls under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

On Feb. 16, Leah Dempsey, ACA’s vice president and senior counsel of federal advocacy, and Mark Brennan and Arpan Sura, counsel to ACA, met with Danielle Thumann, policy advisor to Commissioner Brendan Carr, to discuss Chair Jessica

Rosenworcel’s proposed Declaratory Ruling and Order.

During the meeting, ACA expressed support for the commission’s efforts to protect consumers against scams, fraud, and other unlawful robocalls, while also raising concerns that the commission might vote on the draft order based on a stale record, without meaningful opportunity for public input, and in a way that could create harmful side effects for consumers and legitimate callers acting in good faith.

According to a press release from the FCC, Rosenworcel’s proposed order would deny a 2017 Petition for Declaratory Ruling filed by All About the Message (AATM). AATM’s petition requested the FCC to declare that ringless voicemail technology does not constitute a “call” subject to the TCPA.

AATM argued that ringless voicemails are  not subject to the TCPA because: (1) voice messages are delivered to consumers without making a call, and (2) consumers are not charged for these communications. Ultimately, however, AATM withdrew its petition a few months after filing, ACA previously reported.

The draft order is not currently available for public review, even though it proposes to substantially expand the meaning of a key statutory term (call) in a way that could have far-reaching consequences for modern communications technologies. At a minimum, ACA encourages the commission to provide a public notice and comment period and seek stakeholder input on the specific proposals under consideration before a vote on the draft order.

ACA members can read more on the meeting with the FCC here.

Related Content from ACA International:

FCC Chair Seeks to Regulate Ringless Voicemails

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