The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) regarding the amendment of the exemptions under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) allowing some entities to make calls using automated telephone dialing systems or artificial or pre-recorded voices, which could possibly include debt collection calls. The comment period has since closed.

In 2019, Congress enacted The Pallone-Thune Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (“TRACED”) Act. The TRACED Act requires the FCC to ensure that any exemption granted under the TCPA includes certain requirements, including the classes of parties that may make such calls, the classes of parties that may be called, and the number of calls that can be made to a called party.

For debt collectors, the most notable exemption in the NPRM is allowing commercial calls made to a residence that do not involve telemarketing and use an artificial or pre-recorded voice.

The FCC is proposing to create two categories of calls – informational calls and transactional calls. Informational calls would be calls that are only providing information, and transactional calls would be calls to complete or confirm a commercial transaction with the called party. The FCC sought comment on whether to institute a limit on the number of calls that can be made under this exemption. Moreover, if there is a limit on calls the FCC inquires whether there should be an overall call limit or a daily or weekly limit. If a called party asks to opt-out of such calls, then a party must cease calling. Lastly, the FCC sought comment on the proposed opt-out mechanism for the called party.