The FCC is responsible for enforcement of the Telecommunications Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), but the Federal TRADE Commission is responsible for a parallel law called the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR). The TSR is lengthier and in some ways broader than the TCPA, but there are significant overlaps and the two agencies have sought to align them somewhat over the years. Both agencies have ongoing efforts bringing enforcement actions against illegal robocallers.
While the FCC is the agency most associated with regulation of telecommunications service providers, last week the FTC set a precedent in using their authority under 16 CFR § 310.3(b) of their TSR, which states: “It is a deceptive telemarketing act or practice and a violation of this Rule for a person to provide substantial assistance or support to any seller or telemarketer when that person knows or consciously avoids knowing that the seller or telemarketer is engaged in any act or practice that violates §§ 310.3(a), (c) or (d), or § 310.4 of this Rule.”
The FTC announced on 5-December: “A federal court in Texas has issued a temporary restraining order against Globex and 9506276 Canada, appointed a temporary receiver, and frozen their assets.” The FTC has been working with the Ohio Attorney General on the case.
Globex was a Nevada-based VoIP provider originating robocalls for Educare Centre Services and related companies offering Credit Card Interest Rate Reduction (CCIRR) services to consumers.
This is a great precedent-setting step for our effort to quash robocalls at the source. Now US-based voice service providers that collect fees from illegal robocallers in exchange for flooding those calls onto the USA telephone network will need to be nervous about two federal agencies coming after them.
Further, the FTC was joined by the Attorney General for Ohio in this case. We know that 51 state Attorneys General have taken a stand against illegal robocalls; any and all of them are no doubt ready to join the feds in their next case. And the US Department of Justice is also on the anti-robocall bandwagon. This foreshadows more good things to come in 2020.