On March 23, 2018, shortly after the court set aside the FCC’s rule establishing a one-call safe harbor for reassigned numbers, the FCC released a Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comments on establishing databases to prevent unwanted calls to numbers that have been reassigned. Under this proposal, one or more databases would be developed to provide callers with the comprehensive and timely information they need to discover that a number has been reassigned before making a call to that number. The Commission proposes that the database would provide callers with information about when numbers are disconnected. The FCC reasons that this will best allow callers to identify, at the earliest possible point, when a subscriber can no longer be reached at that number. According to the FCC, “with timely access to such data, callers will be best positioned to rid their calling lists of reassigned numbers before calling them.” The FCC seeks comment on whether callers who choose to use the reassigned numbers database should be afforded a “safe harbor” from TCPA liability for all calls to reassigned numbers in the database, or some subset of such numbers.
In connection with this proposal, the FCC seeks comment on 1) the specific information that callers who choose to use a reassigned numbers database need from such a database; 2) how to ensure that the information is reported to a database; and 3) the best way to make that information available to callers who want it. The FCC also seeks comment on the following:
- Whether the data should be provided to callers in the CSV (comma-separated values) or XML (eXtensible Markup Language) format or some other format(s)?
- Any specific criteria or requirements that an entity must satisfy to become an eligible user of the database.
- Whether database users should be subject to a registration requirement.
- How service providers should be compensated for the costs of reporting data to a reassigned numbers database and the cost to callers to use the database.
- How often a caller would need to check a reassigned numbers database to avail themselves of the safe harbor?
Comments on this matter are due by June 7, 2018 and reply comments are due by July 9, 2018. Visit FCC for more information.