A lot of firms have been taking stabs with misleading “emergency purposes” TCPA blogs regarding the coronavirus epidemic- hazarding a guess about what is, and is not, permissible without any guidance from the FCC on the subject. (Really inappropriate in my view.) We stayed clear of doing so, and now you’ll see why.
On Friday the FCC issue its FIRST and ONLY declaratory ruling on the subject—again don’t believe some of the misleading headlines you may have seen out there on this— and its clarifications are narrow. On its own motion the FCC exempted certain calls related to the coronavirus pandemic from TCPA requirements—but only calls made by certain callers regarding certain topics:
First, the caller must be from a hospital, or be a health care provider, state or local health official, or other government official as well as a person under the express direction of such an organization and acting on its behalf. Second, the content of the call must be solely informational, made necessary because of the COVID-19 outbreak, and directly related to the imminent health or safety risk arising out of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The FCC goes on to expressly clarify that certain forms of Covid-19 related messages are not emergency in nature. These include “advertising a commercial grocery delivery service, or selling or promoting health insurance, cleaning services, or home test kits.”
Ruling available here: Coronavirus Ruling
We will have further analysis tomorrow. But for those of you wondering about the scope of the “emergency purposes” exemption—this is the definitive guidance you’ve been waiting for. More to come.
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