On May 1, 2020, the FCC released an Order adopting new rules to implement the Pallone-Thune Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act, better known as the TRACED Act. The new rules set forth enhanced enforcement procedures and penalties against companies and individuals that violate the TCPA’s restrictions on unsolicited robocalls.
The new rules are intended to implement Section 3 of the TRACED Act, which removed the requirement that the FCC first issue a citation or warning to suspected robocall violators before issuing penalties for illegal robocalls. Such warnings were previously required by law until the TRACED Act was enacted.
In furtherance of other TRACED Act requirements, the new rules also impose an additional potential monetary penalty for individuals found to have made illegal robocalls “with the intent to cause such violation,” and extends the statute of limitations to four (4) years for the FCC to impose penalties for certain violations.
The specific amendments to 47 C.F.R. §180 are as follows:
- The FCC may impose a penalty against any person or entity that violates 47 U.S.C. § 227(b), as amended, removing the requirement that the FCC must first issue a citation to any person or entity that violates section 227(b) when that entity is not otherwise regulated by the FCC.
- The FCC has the authority to impose a penalty of up to $10,000 per intentional unlawful robocall.
- The statute of limitations period is extended to four years for intentional violations of section 227(b), which governs calls made using an automatic telephone dialing system, prerecorded, or artificial voice.
- The statute of limitations period was extended to four years for violations under section 227(e) of the Act, which prohibits the transition of “misleading or inaccurate caller identification information with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value.”
Ordinarily, the FCC engages in a lengthy public notice and comment process before implementing any changes to its rules. In this case, however, the FCC concluded because the changes were required by Section 3 of the TRACED Act, forgoing the notice and comment process did not involve an exercise of discretion. As a result, the revised rules will become effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.