ACA International has filed comments with the Federal Communications Commission in support of United Healthcare Services Inc.'s petition seeking to address mobile phone number reassignment issues under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

UHC filed a "Petition for Expedited Declaratory Ruling" in hopes of clarifying that callers are not liable under the TCPA and the FCC's rules when making non-telemarketing autodialed or prerecorded calls to mobile numbers for which they have obtained prior express consent - specifically when the numbers have been reassigned without the caller's knowledge.

ACA, the largest industry association representing collection agencies and creditors, agrees with UHC’s assertion that there is no incentive to make informational, non-telemarketing calls other than to the person who provided consent to be called.

ACA wants the FCC to adopt an extension of the existing TCPA safe harbor for wrong numbers to address these calls.

In January, ACA filed its own petition to the FCC, seeking clarification and revisions to rules governing the TCPA. 

The association is asking the FCC to:

    •    Confirm that not all predictive dialers are categorically automatic telephone dialing systems.
    •    Confirm that “capacity” under the TCPA means present ability.
    •    Clarify that prior express consent attaches to the person incurring a debt, and not the specific phone number provided by the consumer at the time a debt was incurred.
    •    Establish a safe harbor for autodialed “wrong number” non-telemarketing calls to wireless numbers.

In July 2013, ACA International's Board of Directors approved initiatives to protect the "long-term viability" of the credit and collection industry. The efforts are funded by a three-year Industry Advancement Fund assessment and are part of ACA’s three-pronged effort (legal/litigation, regulatory and legislative) to reform the TCPA.

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