FCC Seeks Public Comment on Telemarketing Rules Petition

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is seeking public comment on a petition filed by SGS North America requesting a declaratory ruling in connection with the Commission’s telemarketing rules.

Filed in mid-December, the SGS petition calls on the FCC to “clarify the meaning of ‘telemarketing’ and ‘dual purpose’ calls” under the provisions of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The TCPA establishes rules to limit unwanted telemarketing calls and empowers consumers to seek financial recourse from abusive telemarketing practices. However, citing a prior FCC declaratory ruling, the SGS petition says that “trial lawyers have found legitimate, domestic businesses a much more profitable target,” and is asking the FCC for help in protecting legitimate business communications from “frivolous litigation” by clarifying and confirming the limits on TCPA requirements for prior express written consent.

SGS cites as evidence in support of its petition its own status as a defendant in a class action suit over TCPA violations. That suit claims that SGS’s automated phone calls to customers on behalf of automobile leasing companies to schedule or confirm lease-end inspections were made for a “dual purpose,” thereby violating TCPA provisions.

As an alternative to a declaratory ruling, the SGS petition requests a limited, retroactive waiver of TCPA rules in connection with its calls to schedule or confirm motor vehicle end-of-lease inspections.

Comments on the SGS petition can be filed electronically through January 24th at www.fcc.gov/ecfs (reference Docket No. 02-278). Read the complete text of SGS petition.

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