Just before the new year, President Trump signed into law the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act, or TRACED Act, the latest step by the Administration to curb illegal and unwanted robocalls. The legislation expands Federal Communications Commission (FCC) enforcement authority against robocall offenses with a longer statute of limitations and increased civil penalties.
Specifically, the bill would impose stiffer fines of as much as $10,000 per call on those who intentionally violate the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The time period for the FCC to catch and take civil enforcement action against such violations is increased to four years for intentional violations, and one year for non-intentional violations.
Importantly, the TRACED Act directs the FCC to engage in several rulemaking, monitoring, and reporting activities. Within one year, the FCC is required to revisit the exemptions in its rules implementing the TCPA such as the exemptions allowing calls not made for commercial purposes, and to potentially limit the classes of parties that may make exempt calls, the parties that may be called, and the number of calls allowed. There is also the possibility the agency could provide clarity on the definition of an automatic telephone dialing system. NAR will continue to monitor these developments and share with members the potential impacts.
While the vast majority of the TRACED Act is to go after truly fraudulent robocall scammers, the passage of such legislation serves as an important reminder for real estate professionals to review their responsibilities under the TCPA, and ensure their compliance.