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Removing Barriers Blog

CUNA to Comment on TCPA Petition before FCC
Posted January 26, 2017 by Chandler Schuette

In August the Federal Communications Commission adopted an exemption for autodialed, prerecorded calls to collect a debt owed to or guaranteed by the United States from the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)'s prior-express-consent requirement.  

This change was prompted by the Budget Act of 2015, (Budget Act) which amended the TCPA to create the exemptions for calls made to cell phones when collecting a debt owed to or guaranteed by the federal government. However, the FCC's rule took a narrow reading of this law, and requires several limitations surrounding the exemption. Navient, Great Lakes, Nelnet, PHEAA, and SLSA, filed a petition for reconsideration of the R&O on December 16, 2016 seeking additional clarification. 

CUNA plans to comment on this petition and address some additional concerns credit unions have with the July 2015 TCPA Order. 

What does this petition do? 

It seeks clarification on whether the FCC should allow: 

  • An exemption that covers more than three calls per month; 

  • An exemption to cover calls that reach a reassigned number; and 

  • An exemption to cover certain calls to non-borrowers (e.g., calls to locate a borrower made to relatives listed in the borrower’s loan file. 

It also seeks an acknowledgement that the 2015 Budget Act only allows the FCC to limit only the “number and duration” of exempt calls. 

What credit unions are impacted by this proposed rule? 

Credit unions making phone calls with equipment which has the capacity to store or produce telephone numbers to be called using a random or sequential number generator and to dial such numbers are subject to the TCPA. This petition focuses on the collection of debt owed to or guaranteed by the federal government. 

When are comments due? 

The FCC published notice of our petition in the Federal Register on Tuesday, January 17, 2017.  Oppositions to the petition are due on February 1, 2017.  Replies to oppositions are due on February 13, 2017.   

Please send any feedback to Leah Dempsey at ldempsey@cuna.coop