Not too long ago, the feds were able to update the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) to allow the agency to move forward with a fine before it provided notification of a potential offense. They were able to achieve this change through the passage of the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act.
The FCC has decided to test these changes out — and it’s going big. It didn’t just decide to go for a few thousand or even hundred thousand in fines the first time using this amendment. Nope. It has asked for over $5 million. Millions of dollars in fines without the business getting any notification of a potential violation. Without the chance to make changes to better ensure compliance.
What case led to this alleged violation?
The case involved a lobbyist and political consultant group, J.M. Burman & Associates LLC. The feds claim the group called over 1,000 voters in September of 2020. The feds claim the business did not include their name or otherwise identify themselves within the call. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) argues that the business did not have proper consent from the voters prior to making these calls. As a result, the group was allegedly in violation of the TCPA.
The allegations have led to a harsh financial penalty. The FCC is asking for a penalty of $5,134,500.
What can my business learn from this case?
The FCC is cracking down on any allegations of a violation of the TCPA. Business leaders are wise to conduct an audit and make changes to better ensure compliance. If business leaders get notification of an investigation by the FCC or an impending lawsuit from a consumer that is alleging a violation, take it seriously. Prompt action to begin to build a defense can help to mitigate the penalties.