Tuesday, October 14, 2008

No Private Action under Telephone Consumer Protection Act for Prerecorded Political Calls

This posting was written by Thomas A. Long, Editor of CCH Privacy Law in Marketing.

An individual could not pursue claims under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) against candidates and promoters of candidates for public office for making, or causing to be made, prerecorded political campaign calls soliciting votes that failed to contain the telephone number of the business or entity responsible for making the calls, a Maryland state appellate court has determined.

Because the calls were political in nature, they were not prohibited by Sec. 227(b) of the TCPA, which provided a private right of action to recipients of unsolicited, prerecorded commercial telephone calls., according to the court.

Technical and Procedural Standards

Section 227(d) of the TCPA prohibited phone calls that did not comply with certain technical and procedural standards for automatic telephone dialing systems. Those standards were detailed in underlying regulations that required all prerecorded telephone message to clearly state the identity of the entity responsible for initiating the call, as well as the entity's telephone number. There was no private right of action under Sec. 227(d), the court said.


The individual's Maryland Telephone Consumer Protection Act claims were preempted by the TCPA, the court held. Section 227(e) of the TCPA provided that states may create their own more-restrictive standards than the federal statute, except with regard to the technical and procedural standards set by Sec. 227(d).

The September 15 decision, Worsham v. Ehrlich, appears at CCH Privacy Law in Marketing ¶60,250.

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