A TCPA for the 21st Century: Why TCPA Lawsuits Are On the Rise and What the FCC Should Do About It

Monica Desai, Ryan King, Maria Wolvin and Maxine Martin
Partner Patton Boggs LLP, United States

Introduction

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) was signed into law in 1991, more than twenty years ago, with the specific purpose of stopping harassing and unwanted phone calls to consumers. Over the past few years there has been an astonishing increase in the number of TCPA lawsuits alleging violations of the TCPA, with one study estimating that TCPA lawsuits rose by 63 percent in 2012 alone (WebRecon, 2012). So what is the cause of this explosive increase in litigation? The answer seems to be a confluence of factors: modern technology allowing companies to reach multitudes of consumers in a short amount of time, no limits on damages combined with litigation that is often unchecked by any common sense application of the statutory language to modern technology, and the lack of an updated regulatory interpretation of the decades-old statutory language that takes into account how consumers and businesses communicate today.