Reps. Lee Terry (R-NE) and Ed Towns (D-NY) have introduced the Mobile Informational Call Act of 2011 (H.R. 3035). H.R. 3035 would amend the Telephone Consumer Protection Act — which is administered and enforced by the Federal Communications Commission but also authorizes private rights of action — to clarify the scope of limitations under the Act.
Under the TCPA, it is unlawful for a person to use an “automatic telephone dialing system” to call any telephone number assigned to a cellular telephone service without the prior express consent of an individual. H.R. 3035 would clarify the scope of this prohibition in several respects:
- The bill would make clear that oral or written approval by an individual in the context of an established business relationship constitutes “prior express consent” under the Act;
- Commercial calls to cellular telephone numbers would no longer be covered by the prohibition, except to the extent that the calls are “telephone solicitations”; and
- The definition of an “automatic telephone dialing system” would cover only equipment that actually produces and dials randomly generated telephone numbers.
These clarifications would resolve certain reported ambiguities under current law, including the ability of firms to contact existing and former customers using automated telephone dialing technologies.