March 15, 2023
TCPA Regulations Update Proposed in the DO NOT CALL Act of 2023
American consumers received more than 50.3 billion illegal robocalls in 2022, despite the federal government’s efforts to combat these unwanted communications. Initiatives like STIR/SHAKEN remain ineffective in many scenarios, resulting in new legislation from the House of Representatives proposed this month.
That legislation is The Deter Obnoxious, Nefarious, and Outrageous Telephone Calls Act, or the DO NOT CALL Act. Initially introduced in the House during the previous term, the act now includes stricter penalties, including jail time, for illegal robocallers. If it finally passes, it could solve the ongoing problem of unwanted calls for good.
Learn more about the DO NOT CALL Act TCPA regulations and other robocall-related legal developments below.
What Is the DO NOT CALL Act?
The new DO NOT CALL Act expands on the previously proposed legislation of the same name, introduced in the House in 2021. This time around, illegal robocallers could encounter tougher penalties for breaking the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) of 1991 and even go to jail for up to three years. The stricter rules have yet to pass in the House; however, further regulations and enforcement policies regarding illegal robocalls will roll out later in the year.
The DO NOT CALL Act 2023 proposes TCPA violators face prison time for up to one year if it’s their first offense and three years, a fine, or both for subsequent offenses. The House currently defines a TCPA violation warranting up to three years of jail time as making more than 100,000 calls in 24 hours, 1 million calls in 30 days, 10 million calls in one year, or aggregating $5,000 or more from illegal robocalls annually. In addition, penalties for inaccurate caller ID information, also known as call spoofing, will increase from $10,000 to $20,000.
Congressman David Kustoff and Congresswoman Deborah Ross (both Republicans) proposed these new DO NOT CALL Act TCPA regulations. Kustoff says:
“Robocalls are a nuisance that take away from our everyday lives. I introduced the DO NOT Call Act with Congresswoman Ross to give our judicial system more authority to protect Americans from receiving these calls, and from being scammed and defrauded as a result.”
New TCPA Regulations for “Exempt” Calls
New updates to the TCPA will go into effect July 20. The most important one is exemptions for organizations making non-commercial artificial and prerecorded calls. For example, healthcare companies calling patients and commercial and non-profit organizations that don’t engage in telemarketing. These organizations won’t violate the TCPA if they make no more than three calls in 30 days (or no more than three calls per week for HIPAA-related communications) and provide opt-out options for call recipients during business hours or via IVR menus.
Organizations must also maintain a do-not-call list that allows recipients to opt out of future calls, keep that list for five years, and record and honor do-not-call requests in 30 days or less. Finally, organizations must provide the name of the individual calling, the person or organization that is behind the call, and a contact phone number or address.
These requirements build on previous TCPA rules about call limits and opt-out requirements in 2020. Since the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is clamping down on violators, it’s essential for all organizations, even those exempt from specific provisions, to follow TCPA regulations.
FCC Targets Issues Twilio Cease and Desist
Another recent development is the FCC targeting the real estate firm MV Realty for violating the National Do Not Call Registry (DNC). The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) — responsible for enforcing DNC violations — issued a cease and desist letter to Twilio to stop facilitating potentially illegal robocalls, proving the federal agency is committed to enforcing regulations about unwanted calls.
This development establishes that no organization is above the law when making or facilitating illegal robocalls, even large companies like Twilio. The government opinion is clear: Organizations can’t call people on DNC.
Current penalties for violating DNC are $43,792 per call. The FTC says it has sued hundreds of people and companies for making unwanted communications and forced telemarketers making illegal robocalls to pay over $290 million in judgments. The agency says:
“We continue to work with other law enforcement agencies and encourage industry efforts to combat robocalls and caller ID spoofing.”
Importance of DO NOT CALL Act TCPA Regulations
Illegal robocalls show no real signs of slowing down. However, the latest DO NOT CALL Act TCPA regulations, if passed, will hopefully help curb this problem. Since stricter penalties, including jail time, are on the horizon for offenders of TCPA, organizations must ensure they abide by DNC rules. TCPA violation exemptions for some organizations will roll out in the summer, but the government is committed to enforcing its policies, as evidenced by the recent MV Realty scandal.