On January 23, 2023, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced an important change to its rules regarding calls to residential numbers that are currently exempt from the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Effective July 20, 2023, these rule amendments will impact certain calls placed to residential numbers and aim to enforce the restrictions imposed by the TRACED Act of 2019.
The implementation of these rule amendments was originally scheduled to occur six months after the publication of the FCC’s final rules. However, apparently due to petitions for reconsideration, publication was delayed for nearly two years. The FCC finally addressed the petitions in December 2022 and published the final rule amendments shortly thereafter.
The TCPA Exemptions Order, published on December 30, 2020, introduced new regulations for the placement of artificial and prerecorded voice calls (also known as robocalls) to residential numbers. These amendments include limitations on the number of calls that a caller can make within a specified time frame, the requirement of specific opt-out mechanisms in each call, and the implementation of do-not-call list procedures.
Companies can expect changes regarding informational robocalls placed to landline residential telephone numbers, which will no longer be fully exempt from the TCPA’s consent requirements. Unless prior express consent is obtained, the following call limitations will apply:
Non-commercial calls (such as research calls, political polling, and non-sponsored weather and school closing alerts) are limited to a maximum of three calls to a residential number within any consecutive 30-day period.
Commercial calls that do not constitute telemarketing (including debt collection calls) are limited to a maximum of three calls to a residential number within any consecutive 30-day period.
Tax-exempt nonprofit organizations are limited to a maximum of three calls to a residential number within any consecutive 30-day period.
Healthcare-related calls that are allowed pursuant to HIPAA are limited to a maximum of three calls per week to a residential number.
Additionally, informational robocalls placed to landline residential telephone numbers must provide specific options for call recipients to be included in the caller’s do-not-call list. This must include a contact telephone number for do-not-call requests and real-time recording of these requests through automated interactive prompts. Moreover, all callers that place robocalls to landline residential telephone numbers must establish do-not-call procedures.