HHS Seeks Clarity on Government Calls from FCC

government calls
government calls

A petition from the U.S. Health and Human Services Department could help inform the FCC’s regulation of calls made on behalf of government contractors under the TCPA.

05/10/2022 1:45 P.M.

2 minute read

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has filed a helpful petition with the Federal Communications Commission regarding the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and calls for government contractors under the TCPA.

The HHS petition asks the FCC to clarify that contractors making calls and texts on behalf of the government are not subject to the TCPA in important respects.

For example, HHS requests assistance from the FCC to confirm that state and federal government employees who deliver such text messages and automated, prerecorded calls to individuals generally will be immune from suit under the TCPA; and state and federal government contractors who deliver such text messages and automated, prerecorded calls to individuals generally will be immune from suit under the TCPA when the government agency authorizes and directs the contractor’s actions and the agency validly confers that authorization.

The FCC is seeking public comment on the HHS petition and has established a relatively compressed comment schedule. Comments are due on May 17, and reply comments are due May 24.

ACA members contact consumers exclusively for non-telemarketing and legitimate business reasons, including for government contractors. Because of unclear requirements for how the accounts receivable management industry can use modern technologies to communicate with consumers, the industry often remains unable to provide critical financial information in a timely and effective manner.

This is potentially an important development for the ARM industry, especially if your company makes a significant volume of calls on behalf of the government (for example, servicing-related calls on behalf of the U.S. Department of Education or Treasury).

Submitting comments will be helpful to push the FCC to a favorable resolution.

To file comments:

  • All filings must reference CG Docket No. 02-278.
  • Electronic Filers: Comments may be filed electronically by accessing the ECFS: https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filings.
  • Paper Filers: Parties who choose to file by paper must file an original and one copy of each filing.
  • Filings can be sent, by commercial overnight courier, or by first-class or overnight U.S. Postal Service mail. All filings must be addressed to the Commission’s Secretary, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission to 9050 Junction Drive, Annapolis Junction, MD 20701.

Visit the public notice for more details on filing comments.

If this is an item you want to discuss further with ACA’s advocacy team, please email [email protected].

If you have executive leadership updates or other member news to share with ACA, contact our communications department at [email protected]. View our publications page for more information and our news submission guidelines here.

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