Wall Street Journal Op-Ed Supports Portions of ACA International Petition to Reform the TCPA

Former FCC chief of staff and legal advisor Adonis Hoffman outlines why change to the TCPA is good for businesses and consumers.

Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal included an op-ed article that clearly explains why the Federal Communications Commission should make changes to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991. Written by Adonis Hoffman, a speaker at ACA International’s Washington Insights Conference in April and a former high-level staffer at the FCC, the article focused on the fact that plaintiffs’ attorneys have been using ambiguities in the law to extract large sums of money from American businesses.

“It is no wonder that banks, credit agencies, universities, retailers, utilities, and healthcare providers are asking the FCC for relief from abuses and the unintended consequences of the law,” Hoffman wrote in his article, titled “Sorry Wrong Number, Now Pay Up.”

The article comes just days before a June 18 meeting during which the FCC is expected to vote on a declaratory ruling related to the TCPA. The public has not been given access to the proposed ruling, which is not expected to be released for days or even weeks after the vote.

“None of us relished intrusive calls from telemarketers,” Hoffman continues, “But if the FCC votes as [FCC Chairman Tom] Wheeler portends, it will drive another unnecessary wedge between corporations and the people they serve. This is not what Congress intended when nearly 25 years ago it acted to shield people from unwanted telemarketing calls.”

“This is exactly why ACA International submitted a petition to the FCC requesting important clarifications to the TCPA,” said ACA International Vice President and General Counsel Robert Föehl. “While Mr. Hoffman’s article does not address all of our concerns with the TCPA, he gets to the heart of the matter. Times have changed and the way people communicate has changed. This is about businesses being able to communicate with consumers in the way that their customers expect and desired to be contacted.”

In January 2014, ACA filed a petition with the FCC requesting important clarifications to the TCPA and has been actively advocating for those clarifications and encouraging the FCC to address the important issues for our members raised by ACA’s petition.

And, in February, ACA, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its Institute for Legal Reform, as well as more than 30 organizations and associations sent a letter to the FCC asking it to expeditiously address the issues raised in the numerous TCPA-related petitions that have been filed with the agency. Importantly, this letter demonstrates the importance of TCPA clarification to a variety of industries.  

ACA will be on-site at the June 18 FCC meeting to provide live coverage, and will offer in-depth analysis once the language of the ruling is released.