FCC Files Brief with DC Circuit in ACA’s Challenge to TCPA Order

The FCC is not only fighting to preserve its TCPA Order, but also the FCC’s authority.

The Federal Communications Commission filed its answering brief with the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Friday in ACA International, et al. v. Federal Communications Commission and United States. 

The FCC is trying to preserve its July 2015 Declaratory Ruling and Order on the Telephone Consumer Protection Act against a challenge by ACA International.  In the brief, the FCC argued that recent Congressional reforms to the TCPA – which would allow the use of modern dialing technology to collect government-related debt – support its interpretation of the Act.

“If Petitioners were correct that devices that can call any stored list of numbers (not just random or consecutive numbers) fall outside the TCPA’s autodialer restrictions, then there would have been no need to exempt debt-collection calls from the autodialer restrictions; debt collectors do not go about calling random or consecutive numbers hoping to stumble upon someone who owes them an overdue debt. Congress’s recent amendments to the TCPA thus confirm that Congress shares the FCC’s decade-old understanding that the TCPA’s autodialer restrictions apply to devices used to call a stored list of telephone numbers,” the FCC said in its D.C. Circuit Court filing. 

Accusing the FCC of abdicating its responsibility to clarify areas of uncertainty under the TCPA and muddying the already murky waters of the TCPA, ACA and other petitioners filed suit in July to challenge the FCC’s authority and the unlawful, arbitrary and capricious provisions of its TCPA Order. The petitioners in the ACA Int’l case argue that the FCC went far beyond Congress’s original intent when redefining statutory terms to expand the scope of the TCPA, roping in normal legal business contact with customers and violating the due process and free speech rights of companies. 

ACA is currently examining the FCC’s arguments and will provide in-depth review of the same in a subsequent edition of ACA Daily this week.   

Visit ACA’s Industry Advancement Program webpage to read the latest news and updates concerning ACA’s efforts to proactively advance industry interests. The association’s TCPA Resource Center also features related news, ACA SearchPoint documents, legal and regulatory materials, compliance guidelines and more.