The Telephone Consumer Protection Act ("TCPA") limits the use of autodialed calls or texts and prerecorded voice calls (all of which are sometimes called "robocalls"). The TCPA and the FCC's implementing rules apply to political campaign-related calls or texts, including those made in connection with the 2016 election. These restrictions vary based upon whether a call is delivered to a landline telephone, a cell phone, or certain protected telephone lines (e.g., emergency or toll-free lines, or lines serving hospitals or similar facilities).
Political campaign-related prerecorded voice or autodialed calls (including autodialed live calls, prerecorded voice messages, and text messages) are:
- Prohibited to cell phones, pagers, or other mobile devices without the called party's prior express consent.
- Prohibited to the protected telephone lines noted in the TCPA and the rules (e.g., emergency or toll-free lines, or lines serving hospitals or similar facilities), unless made with the called party's prior express consent.
- Permissible when made to landline telephones, even without prior express consent.
All prerecorded voice message calls, campaign-related and otherwise, must include certain identification information:
- The identity of the business, individual, or other entity initiating the call (and if a business or corporate entity, the entity's official business name) must be stated clearly at the beginning of the message; and
- the telephone number of the calling party must be provided either during or after the message.
More information regarding the FCC's enforcement of rules related to political campaign robocalls can be found at: https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-16-264A1.pdf.
This spotlight is a summary of the Commission's rules; interested parties should consult the Commission's rules and Order for the full requirements. The relevant rule, 47 CFR 64.1200 can be found at: http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?rgn=div6&node=47:188.8.131.52.11.12.
The Order establishing the rule can be found at: https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-03-153A1.pdf.