January 14, 2020

SCOTUS to consider constitutionality of TCPA provision

gavelThe U.S. Supreme Court Friday granted a petition to review a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the government-backed debt collection exception of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Under the exception, calls intended to collect a debt owed to or guaranteed by the U.S. are exempt from the TCPA.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in June ruled that the exception violates the First Amendment. The court did not rule the entire statute unconstitutional, but found that the debt collection provision is severable from the rest of the statute. NAFCU has repeatedly asked for clarity from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on TCPA exemptions, and it remains unclear whether the government-backed debt exemption includes Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans.

NAFCU President and CEO Dan Berger last week, in a letter following up on a meeting with FCC Commissioner Michael O' Rielly, reiterated NAFCU's call for guidance and relief under the TCPA and shared concerns from member credit unions. 

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

The association has also met with staff from FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's office and the FCC's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Office.