Drinker Biddle is a leader in representing retailers and the retail industry at large in significant legal and regulatory matters. On August 28, 2017, a team comprised of partners Laura Phillips, Michael Daly and Meredith Slawe, and associates Katie Garayoa and Anthony Glosson, filed comments on behalf of the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in an important proceeding related to reassigned telephone numbers and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
The TCPA and accompanying FCC regulations have caused an explosion of litigation targeting calling and text messaging practices. Drinker Biddle has been at the forefront of defending against TCPA claims and advising retailers and other businesses on complying with the statute and mitigating risk. Many TCPA claims arise from calls or text messages to phone numbers that, unbeknownst to the callers, have been reassigned from consumers who have consented to the communications to consumers who have not.
RILA’s comments were submitted in response to a Notice of Inquiry requesting insight on ways to reduce the number of calls and texts to reassigned numbers—and by extension the number of abusive lawsuits that result from such calls and texts—by making better use of carriers’ reassignment data. RILA advocates for the establishment of a comprehensive database of reassigned phone numbers coupled with a safe harbor for businesses that access it to scrub their call and text lists. They would help ensure that retailers and businesses across industries are not put in the untenable position of having to choose either risking unavoidable liability from calls to numbers that they did not know had been reassigned or refraining from communicating with consumers altogether. This database and safe harbor would promote the important communications that consumers desire and prevent the predatory litigation that often arises from inadvertent calls to reassigned numbers.
Drinker Biddle is proud to partner with RILA, the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies.