U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, convened a hearing yesterday titled “Modernizing the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.” Chairman Walden opened the hearing with the following observations:
We all share the goal of preventing harmful phone calls, but it is increasingly clear that the law is outdated and in many cases, counterproductive. The attempts to strengthen the TCPA rules have actually resulted in a decline in legitimate, informational calls that consumers want and need.
The four witnesses at the one and a half hour hearing were Michelle Turano from WellCare Health Plans, Inc., Shaun W. Mock from Snapping Shoals Electric Membership Corporation, Spencer W. Waller from Loyola University Chicago, and Richard D. Shockey from Shockey Consulting.
Ms. Turano testified that litigation risk has forced her Medicare and Medicaid managed health care plan organization to cease sending health-related reminders to patients on their cellular phones. Mr. Mock testified that a class action lawsuit regarding calls placed to reassigned numbers forced his non-profit electric co-op to cease automated low-balance reminder calls to customers despite many customers relying on these calls. Mr. Waller testified on increasing enforcement. Mr. Shockey emphasized the importance of involving the engineering community in these discussions due to the technical complexities with robocalls and Caller ID.
For those who were unable to attend the hearing, an archived webcast of the hearing, copies of the witnesses’ written statements, and copies of the opening statements are available here.