Stopping Unsolicited Political Campaign Texts
With the election cycle’s presidential primary season in full force, many Americans have received campaign literature, seen television ads and met candidates who are vying for their vote. Unfortunately, some wireless customers have also received unwanted text messages from political campaigns and some of these messages were sent in the middle of the night (between 11 p.m. - 5 a.m.). Earlier this week, CTIA’s President and CEO Steve Largent sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski and Commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Robert McDowell urging the Commission to protect wireless consumers from violators of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which includes any autodialed messages sent to wireless devices. CTIA was a proud supporter of the TCPA when it passed in 1991, and wireless carriers are committed to protecting their customers by prosecuting third parties that violate the TCPA. Unfortunately, there is no way that carriers can block every unsolicited text message that is sent. With political campaigns shifting into even higher gear and some saying mobile strategies will be key to the November elections, it’s likely that autodialed political text messages will become more prevalent - and possibly burdensome. Wireless carriers aggressively seek to protect their customers by prosecuting TCPA violators, but they need help from the FCC. In the letter from Largent, he asks the FCC to issue a Public Notice advising campaigns of the legal boundaries imposed by the TCPA and reaffirm their commitment to protecting consumers by vigorously enforcing the law. In addition, Largent again asks the FCC to reconsider how they catalog consumers’ TCPA reports as “wireless complaints.” In the first six months of 2011, the FCC logged more than 43,000 wireless TCPA complaints, which led the FCC to report it received 53,644 wireless complaints. Instead, the real number was 10,585 complaints from more than 300 million wireless subscribers. This is approximately 5.5 complaints per million wireless subscribers per month (0.00055 percent/month). The FCC’s refusal to properly characterize these consumer complaints significantly misleads the apparent rate of consumer complaints about the wireless industry. Therefore, we again ask the FCC to disaggregate TCPA data from its reporting complaints. Rest assured, CTIA and our members remain committed to working with the Commission in its investigation and prosecution of TCPA violations so wireless consumers are protected against unwanted and unwelcome calls and messages. If you have received an unwanted text message and wish to file a complaint with the FCC, fill out this form here.