April 8, 2020

New COVID-19 TCPA Clarification Paves the Way for Government Communications with Customers

At a Glance

Recent guidance on the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has opened the door for select organizations to make emergency calls and text messages without prior consent from the called party. The goal is to make it easier for governments and other specific organizations to keep citizens safe and informed during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Restrictions apply to both the sender and content of messages.

A Closer Look

The FCC has provided clarification on the TCPA in light of the recent COVID-19 pandemic to allow certain bodies to send messages that relate to the health and safety of consumers without prior consent. Specifically, the act allows an exemption for autodialed calls, pre-recorded messages, and text messages made for emergency purposes. This means consumers no longer have to opt in to receive emergency calls as long as those messages meet the following criteria:

  • Calls/texts/emails must be from a hospital, healthcare provider, state or local government official, or any person working under the direction of any of the above organizations. 
  • The reason for calling must be purely informational and directly connected to the COVID-19 outbreak as it relates to the health and safety of those being contacted.

To ensure consumers are protected from unwanted communications at this difficult time, the FCC indicated that any messaging or calls that contain advertising, telemarketing, or debt collecting, even if it relates to COVID-19, don’t qualify under the emergency purposes provision. Therefore, any such messages would still be subject to the TCPA requirements to obtain consent from a recipient prior to making contact.

KUBRA is here to help. If your organization meets the above requirements and you would like to learn more about how your customer communication solutions can be used to send emergency messages, do not hesitate to contact your CSM.

 

Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and not for providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular situation, issue, or problem.