Removing Barriers Blog

TCPA Oral Arguments to be Held Weds. Oct. 19
Posted October 14, 2016 by CUNA Advocacy

Oral arguments in the case challenging the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) July 2015 TCPA Order will be held Wednesday. CUNA staff plans to attend the hearing that will be held at the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. The three judge panel will include the Honorable Srinivasan, Pillard, and Edwards, and each side will have 20 minutes for the argument. 

CUNA has been closely following this case and filed a joint Amici Brief highlighting credit union concerns with the Order. Some of the specific consequences of the Order that the brief takes issue with include: 

  • The inability to use automated calling methods delay the institution’s ability to contact credit union members about fraud and identify theft and other important account information that can help members avoid hardship or embarrassment; 

  • The expanded scope of the definition of autodialer, which effectively prohibits financial institutions from using many efficient dialing technologies. The brief argues that this leaves financial institutions with no useful guidance as to the kinds of dialing devices they may use to contact their members or customers with communications that must be made promptly and in substantial volume; 

  • The Order provides a strong disincentive for a financial institution to make calls to its customers or members as a result of the onerous guidance about calling reassigned numbers. The potential liability for calls made in good faith to parties who have consented to receive them, but whose telephone number has subsequently been reassigned without notice to the financial institution, threatens to curtail important and valued communications; 

  • The problematic guidance about how a consumer can revoke consent. The brief notes that the TCPA Order requires financial institutions to receive revocations through any and all communication channels by which institutions receive communications and by any employee who works for the institution or, potentially, who works for a partner of the institution; and 

  • The practical limitations of the financial institutions exemption. The exemption is of particular concern to small financial institutions, and as articulated in the TCPA Order, offers very limited relief. The brief states some small financial institutions have even concluded that the restrictions established by the FCC in the TCPA Order result in a de facto ban on their ability to utilize the exemption. 

Since the FCC issued its Order, CUNA has: written to Congress numerous times with its TCPA concerns; outlined credit union concerns to the National Credit Union Administration and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; met with the FCC to discuss concerns; hosted a webinar on potential issues for credit unions; and requested congressional oversight and hearings to be held on this matter. The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee and House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology conducted hearings. 

Many cases around the country have stayed TCPA decisions to see how the D.C. Circuit rules. We will be monitoring any additional actions after the arguments and keeping credit unions updated.