ACA International, DBA International and the National Association of Retail Collection Attorneys (NARCA) are part of a coalition of dozens of national associations and business groups that sent a letter this week to the Federal Communications Commission, requesting that the regulator address various petitions and issues related to updating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
TCPA lawsuits have soared in recent years as a result of the FCC's rules and regulations not keeping pace with huge growth in mobile technology. The letter urges clarification from the FCC on several points and renews the call for the FCC to allow autodialing technology to reach cell phones for non-telemarketing purposes, which includes debt collection calls.
Wireless phones were owned by few people when the TCPA was passed in 1991, thanks to exorbitant usage costs and the technology being in its infancy. Nearly 25 years later, 90% of Americans own a mobile phone and roughly 60% of U.S. households are "wireless-only." The cost for usage is low in 2015, with many calling plans including unlimited minutes or no charge for incoming calls. The coalition's letter notes that the technology allows businesses to communicate with their customers in ways never expected in 1991.
"Compared to 1991, organizations today - including many small businesses use efficient, automated technologies to place a variety of time-sensitive, non-telemarketing calls," the letter states. "Unfortunately, due to a lack of clarity under the TCPA, these important communications are increasingly being chilled, organizations making the calls are increasingly being subjected to frivolous litigation, and consumers are increasingly missing important communications."
The coalition includes the Consumer Bankers Association and several groups from a wide range of industries such as the National Restaurant Association, the National Retail Federation, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association and the state creditor bar associations of at least 20 states. The coalition is led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.