Remember the only discenting voice in the July 10, 2015 TCPA Declaratory Ruling - asking for some business call solicitation relief? It was Ajit Pai, then Chairman of the FCC. And he continues to be a sharp critic of the TCPA. Now Chairman again, Trump has two additional Republican members to replace, making it likely the Republicans will dominate the office and be more business friendly. But does this spell true relief for B2B callers? Or does the new Trump Insight Reform and Accountability Act reviewing all government program procedures hold some promise?
Last week, the House passed the Insight Reform and Accountability Act.
Now, CFPB rule changes must be reviewed by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). Before the law, this was encouraged but not required.
Each agency is to provide OIRA with a list of actions and let them know which action is significant. What's considered significant? An economic annual effect on the budget of $100 million or more.
Trump's initiative needs to find out if a rule "adverslely affects in a material way the economy, a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs..." That might lead some B2B's to sit tight and wait for the TCPA to go away! But not so fast.
We asked top TCPA Defense Attorney Eric Allen at Allen, Mitchell & Allen PLLC if the initiative will help companies reaching out. He was clear, "No - it's unlikely Trump's OIRA can shut down the CFPB... and impossible with the FTC/TCPA.
A better bet for B2B call relief: Ajit Pai. New Chairman of the FCC.
Pai's predictions have basically come true regarding reassigned number responsibility and other issues accusing the TCPA practice as straying from it's original responsibilities. And B2B callers had already been suffering after the October 16'th, 2013 cell ruling making all cell numbers consumer agnostic - and subject to the more stringent written consent rules. And more Republicans on the FCC board could help.
But a "wait and see attitude" in this litigious environment could cost you. Will current cell phone regulations ease when CEO's and higherups in major companies get more unsoliced calls? Probably not. Will hybrid cell numbers on small business websites now subject to the new wireless interpretations stop suing you for calling tham? That would be a "no".
Trump's 2 for 1 Executive Order
issused by the White House back on January 30'th said "for every new regulation proposed, two old ones must be proposed for elimination." Pretty cool mandate: "It's the policy of the United States to alleviate unnecessary regulatory burdens placed on the American people. Within 60 days... the head of each agency shall designate a Regulatory Reform Officer." Ya, I agree. Sounds like it might take a long time to get to the TCPA.
TCPA may be too far down the political chain for immediate reform.
And proving harm to the economy can be a tough one.
I know the temptation is to "wait and see" - but for now, it's probably best to properly protect yourself with cell scrubbing and eliminating former TCPA filers before calling businesses. Consider ducking behind a top Compliance Service Provider also. We still don't know exactly what judges will do when faced with TCPA challenges in court. We want accusers to walk away rather than engage. A big name in compliance helps.
As Pai and Trump's FCC appointments pan out in the next few years, a more business friendly calling environment could emerge.
The Financial Services Perspective compliance blog sums it up well: "Ultimately, the future for the TCPA is unclear, but the potential for reform–whether it’s administrative or legislative–is looking much brighter under FCC Chairman Pai."
For more information on prudent TCPA protections for your B2B calls, please call me at 561-317-3001 or email me here - Bob.