December 10, 2019

NAFCU to FCC: Clarify transmission of text messages under TCPA


NAFCU Regulatory Affairs Counsel Mahlet Makonnen Monday urged the FCC to grant a petition related to text messages transmitted through an automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS) and issue a declaratory order to provide clarification.

The petition, filed by Capital One Services, urges the FCC to allow businesses to send text messages to ​consumers to clarify the scope of a recipient's opt-out request without fear of violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) or other related rules.

"Currently, unless for emergency purposes, the Commission's implementing regulations of the TCPA prohibit the transmission of an informational text message using an ATDS to a mobile telephone number without the recipient's prior express consent and permit consumers to revoke consent if they no longer wish to receive text messages from a sender," wrote Makonnen. "NAFCU continues to support the adoption of a reasonable, uniform opt-out method for revocation of consent."

In the letter, Makonnen reiterated NAFCU's call for the FCC to act on outstanding petitions related to the definition of "autodialer." The association has previously called for the FCC to take a narrower approach to defining an ATDS to ensure credit unions can contact members about their accounts without fear of inadvertently violating the law.

Additionally, Makonnen highlighted the relationship between a credit union and its members.

"As member-owned, not-for-profit cooperatives, credit unions have a unique relationship with their members and want to continue offering member-driven services, including providing critical information to their members through the use of text messages," she noted.

NAFCU has actively worked with the FCC on efforts to modernize the TCPA for more than three years, and will continue its advocacy to ensure credit unions can contact their members regarding important, time-sensitive information, without fear of frivolous litigation.

Most recently, the association met with FCC Commissioner Michael O'Rielly to discuss ongoing efforts to eliminate illegal robocalls and to implement the new caller identification framework known has SHAKEN/STIR.