ACA International Files Lawsuit against FCC Citing that a Recent Ruling on the Telephone Consumer Protection Act Is at Odds with the Original Intent of the Law

ACA International has been at the forefront of a long-time effort to clarify application and enforcement of the TCPA so that businesses can successfully comply.

ACA International, the association of credit and collection professionals, has filed a lawsuit in the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit seeking judicial review of the Federal Communications Commission’s Declaratory Ruling and Order adopted June 18th on the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. The official ruling was released on July 10, 2015.

The FCC’s regulatory action responded to a January 2014 petition filed by ACA International, which asked the FCC to clarify the long-standing uncertainty about the law’s application and enforcement, which has caused legitimate businesses attempting to follow the law to be vulnerable to predatory lawsuits. 

ACA International’s suit seeks judicial review of the FCC’s ruling, and determination whether the FCC exercised its regulatory authority appropriately or if the agency has ignored a controlling statute in order to expand the scope and reach of the TCPA in a way that Congress never intended. While ACA International vigorously opposes the abusive telemarketing activities that the TCPA seeks to curtail, the FCC’s ruling goes several steps in the wrong direction and amounts to an attempt to expand its own power and sidestep Congress.

“With its ruling, the FCC has gotten it wrong and has overstepped its bounds,” said ACA CEO Patrick J. Morris. “The FCC’s ruling is at odds with the plain language of the TCPA, the original intent of Congress, and common sense. Unfortunately, ACA must now turn to the courts in order to challenge the FCC’s attempt to expand its own power and sidestep Congress. ”

When Congress passed the TCPA in 1991, it stated explicitly in that statute that “[i]ndividuals’ privacy rights, public safety interests, and commercial freedoms of speech and trade must be balanced in a way that protects the privacy of individuals and permits legitimate telemarketing practices.” Congress thus expressed a clear intent not to create a regulatory environment so complicated that it lumps legitimate, compliant, law-abiding businesses in with the abusive and intrusive callers the statute was intended to regulate.