The FCC has announced that the Reassigned Numbers Database should be available to paid subscribers beginning November 1, 2021 now that a beta test, which was initiated last July, is successfully completed. Subscribers to the Database will be able to determine if a telephone number has been reassigned from the consumer they intend to reach, allowing the subscriber to avoid contacting a consumer who has not consented to the subscriber’s call or text.
The Database will serve as an important tool to reduce Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) strict liability. All callers using wireless, wireline, or interconnected VoIP services are subject to the TCPA’s reassigned number requirements. Under the TCPA, callers will be held liable for placing calls or texts to reassigned numbers, where the consumer that currently is assigned to the telephone number contacted has not provided the required level of consent to receive the call or text. The caller may be subject to class action lawsuits. In 2018, the Commission adopted a safe harbor from TCPA liability for callers that utilize the Database to identify whether a number has been reassigned.
Once the Database opens, callers will be able to take advantage of the safe harbor by accessing the most recent version of the Database and providing the phone number to be called or texted, and either (1) the date they last contacted the initial consumer that consented to be contacted; or (2) the date on which the caller otherwise knew the initial consumer could still be reached at that number. If the Database confirms that the number has not been reassigned, the caller will be shielded from liability for any inaccuracy in the result. Callers will bear the burden of proof to show that they appropriately checked the most recent version of the Database prior to placing the call or text.
The Database will offer six subscription tiers, ranging from Extra Small (i.e., 1,000 queries/month) to Jumbo (i.e., 30,000,000 queries/month). Subscribers will be able to choose 1-month, 3-month or 6-month subscriptions with different pricing. A table listing the subscription tiers is available here. The pricing in the table reflects interim usage charges. The Database Administrator may make adjustments to the table on a monthly basis with approval from the FCC. The Administrator will post notice of changes on the Database website (https://www.reassigned.us) two weeks before they go into effect.
If you have questions about the Reassigned Numbers Database or about TCPA compliance in general, please contact any attorney in our office.