New TCPA Compliance Requirements for Calls to Residential Numbers Exempt From Prior Express Consent

The FCC has updated the requirements for certain calls to residential numbers that are exempt from the Telephone Consumer Protection Act’s (TCPA) prior express consent requirement, including non-commercial calls, commercial calls that do not constitute telemarketing, calls from tax-exempt nonprofits, and certain healthcare-related calls.

The new requirements implement aspects of the TRACED Act of 2019, which directed the FCC to place restrictions on calls to residential numbers otherwise exempt from the prior express consent requirements, and calls to wireless numbers that are not charged to the called party. For such exempt calls, the FCC was required to identify: (1) the classes of parties that may make such calls; (2) the classes of parties that may be called; and (3) the number of such calls that may be made to a called party.

In its Report and Order, the FCC only amended its regulations regarding exemptions for residential numbers. The FCC determined that its existing exemptions for calls to wireless numbers already met the TRACED Act requirements. In general, the amended rules restrict exempt calls using artificial or prerecorded voice by limiting the number of calls placed and adding new opt-out requirements. Entities concerned about increased liability associated with the new restrictions can use live calls to residential numbers, which are not subject to the new rules, or can obtain prior express consent from a called party before placing such calls. Generally, such consent may be provided when a called party provides their phone number to the caller.

For each of the categories listed below, placement of calls to residential numbers using artificial or prerecorded voice will be limited in number, absent prior express consent. Callers must provide an opt-out mechanism, either: (i) a toll-free number provided in the voice message to register an opt-out request; or (ii) an automated, interactive voice and/or key press-activated opt-out mechanism. A called party must be allowed to opt-out using these mechanisms or any other reasonable means.

The following call number limitations will apply:

Non-Commercial Calls (such as research calls, market surveys, political polling, and non-sponsored weather and school closing alerts)

• Maximum of three calls to a residential number within any consecutive 30-day period.

Commercial Calls that Do Not Constitute Telemarketing (includes debt collection calls)

• Maximum of three calls to a residential number within any consecutive 30-day period.

• The FCC clarified that the exemption applies to parties making calls for a commercial purpose where the call does not introduce an advertisement or constitute telemarketing.

Tax-Exempt Nonprofit Organizations

• Maximum of three calls to a residential number within any consecutive 30-day period.

Healthcare-Related Calls (allowed pursuant to HIPAA)

• Maximum of three calls per week to a residential number.

To allow parties time to update their compliance practices, the amended rules will take effect six months after publication in the Federal Register.

If you have questions about the new TCPA requirements or would like our assistance developing an individualized compliance plan, please contact any attorney in our office.

For More Information

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.