FCC clarifies rules on emergency COVID-19 related calls
The FCC Consumer and Government Affairs Bureau issued a public notice to clarify rules of the emergency exception to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) for calls related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s an overview.
- The TCPA has rules against placing autodialed calls to consumers without their consent.
- The TCPA provides an exception to these rules for calls made for emergency purposes.
- On March 13, 2020, the President declared a national emergency for the pandemic.
- On March 20, 2020, the FCC issued a Declaratory Ruling that the pandemic constitutes an emergency under the TCPA.
- Hospitals, healthcare providers, state and local health officials and government officials may lawfully communicate through automated calls or texts information about the novel coronavirus and mitigation efforts.
There are two conditions that must be met to be covered by this exemption:
- The caller must be from a hospital, health care provider, state or local health official or other government official, or a person under the express direction of such an organization and acting on its behalf.
- The content of the call must be solely informational, made necessary because of the COVID-19 outbreak, and directly related to the imminent health or safety risk arising from the outbreak.
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