Menu

FCC Issues $2.96 Million Fine for Robocalling Violations

Telecommunications   |   Telephone Consumer Protection Act   |   August 25, 2015
Download   
Share Page

Robocalling

Last week, the FCC issued its self-described “largest forfeiture order” to date for robocalling violations. The Commission announced the $2.96 million fine against a travel company based in Tampa, Florida, and its owner, for making or initiating at least 185 prerecorded calls promoting travel deals to over 142 consumers. The majority of these consumers had their telephone numbers listed on the Do-Not-Call Registry.

The federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) restricts telemarketing and the use of automated telephone equipment.  It requires prior express consent in writing for any advertising robocalls to cell phones and residential phones, as well as text messages, and faxes. The statute touches on virtually every industry, and poses a growing threat to any company that uses text messages, telephone calls, and faxed messages, to communicate with consumers. Enacted in 1991, the TCPA has recently been reinvigorated by the prevalence and rapid evolution of digital communications.

The FCC may enforce the rules of the TCPA on its own as it did in the case of this travel company. Consumer complaints prompted the investigation and subsequent finding that the company and its owner “willfully” violated the statute.   Because the TCPA imposes strict statutory penalties of $500 per negligent violation and up to $1,500 per willful or knowing violation, the 185 calls “willfully” made by this company resulted in the hefty fine.  With many marketing campaigns frequently involving thousands of calls or more, the potential exposure for companies through large nationwide class sizes is alarming.  These high-exposure class actions are becoming increasingly attractive to plaintiffs’ attorneys and the law’s four-year statute of limitations adds to the vulnerability for companies who communicate with consumers.  In July of this year, the FCC released a declaratory ruling and order clarifying certain TCPA provisions and strengthening consumer protections under the statute. 

 


©2019 Carlton Fields, P.A. Carlton Fields practices law in California through Carlton Fields, LLP. Carlton Fields publications should not be construed as legal advice on any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general information and educational purposes only, and should not be relied on as if it were advice about a particular fact situation. The distribution of this publication is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship with Carlton Fields. This publication may not be quoted or referred to in any other publication or proceeding without the prior written consent of the firm, to be given or withheld at our discretion. To request reprint permission for any of our publications, please use our Contact Us form via the link below. The views set forth herein are the personal views of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the firm. This site may contain hypertext links to information created and maintained by other entities. Carlton Fields does not control or guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this outside information, nor is the inclusion of a link to be intended as an endorsement of those outside sites.

Subscribe to Publications

Disclaimer

The information on this website is presented as a service for our clients and Internet users and is not intended to be legal advice, nor should you consider it as such. Although we welcome your inquiries, please keep in mind that merely contacting us will not establish an attorney-client relationship between us. Consequently, you should not convey any confidential information to us until a formal attorney-client relationship has been established. Please remember that electronic correspondence on the internet is not secure and that you should not include sensitive or confidential information in messages. With that in mind, we look forward to hearing from you.