WASHINGTON, D.C. (Legal Newsline) – The
Telephone Consumer Protection Act now covers text message senders.
Communications Commission’s Enforcement Bureau is clarifying the
limitations on auto-dialed text messages, more commonly known as “robotexts.”
Companies no longer will be able to send messages that are deemed harassing,
intrusive, illegal or unwanted to consumer’s mobile devices.
The FCC thought this was
necessary progression in amending the TCPA.
“The enforcement advisory was
issued in response to more than 4,000 consumer complaints about unwanted text
messages the FCC has received this year, including over 500 received in October
2016 alone,” Mark Wigfield, deputy director of media relations at the FCC, told
The complaints included several
issues, such as customers being charged for incoming calls or texts and dozens
of unwanted phone calls throughout a day.
“Congress found that automated or
prerecorded telephone calls were a greater nuisance and invasion of privacy
than live solicitation calls,” the FCC said. “Moreover, such calls can be
costly and inconvenient.”
This new advisory is an
amendment to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 and covers any
equipment that is capable of storing and dialing a great quantity of numbers
without human intervention or need.
The TCPA restricts the making of
telemarketing calls and the use of automatic telephone dialing systems—often used
by telemarketers and financial corporations—and artificial or prerecorded voice
The TCPA was initially passed
by Congress and signed into law by President George H.W. Bush
as public law. It amended the Communications Act of 1934.
It may be hard to believe in
this digital age, but along with phone calls and text messages, the FCC does
offer protection from unwanted email messages under TCPA, Wigfield said. If all
precautions are made and consumers still are receiving spam messages, they can file a
complaint on the FCC’s website.
Since 1991, the FCC has had
its fair share of push back to the TCPA. It was constitutionally challenged by
telemarketers soon after the law was enacted but was eventually ruled
constitutional by the Supreme Court in the mid-1990s.
“Congress enacted the
Telephone Consumer Protection Act in 1991, and it remains in force today,” Wigfield said.
If consumers are receiving unwanted,
harassing messages from lone individuals, the FCC offers no protection.
“The FCC’s rules apply to telemarketing and solicitations,” Wigfield said.
determine if the messages are deemed intrusive and in
violation of the TCPA, visit FCC.gov and review the consumer fact sheet and spam