Chicago – Attorney General Kwame Raoul today joined a bipartisan coalition of 38 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief in Facebook v. Noah Duguid, a U.S. Supreme Court case that will determine the scope of the protections of the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). This case is key to states’ ability to protect residents from scammers who use abusive robocall tactics to threaten and scam people.
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“Complaints related to robocalls are consistently among the most common consumer calls my office receives,” Raoul said. “Robocalls are more than just a nuisance; they cost consumers time and sometimes money and have become more pervasive as scammers try to take advantage of the COVID-19 public health crisis. States must be able to take action and collaborate with the federal government to fight this illegal practice, and I urge the Supreme Court to side with consumers.”
The TCPA, enacted in 1991, generally prohibits the use of an autodialer or an artificial or pre-recorded voice to make a call to cell phone users. At issue in the case is whether autodialers include any device that can store and dial numbers automatically, or whether autodialers are limited to devices that use a random number generator. In the brief, Raoul and the coalition argue that the TCPA applies to all kinds of devices that store and dial numbers automatically.
Raoul and the coalition argue that Facebook’s attempt to narrow the definition of autodialers would leave consumers unprotected under the TCPA. Narrowing the definition would also harm states’ ability to protect consumers under the TCPA and would limit collaboration among states and the federal government to take action against abusive robocallers.
Attorney General Raoul has been an advocate for protections against illegal robocalls. In March, Raoul joined a coalition of 33 attorneys general in filing a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court defending the anti-robocall provisions of the TCPA. In August 2019, Raoul joined a coalition of attorneys general from all 50 states and Washington D.C. in partnering with 12 phone companies to create a set of principles for telecom companies to fight robocalls. In June 2019, Raoul, in cooperation with the Federal Trade Commission, announced a major crackdown on robocalls that included 94 actions targeting operations around the country that were responsible for more than 1 billion calls. As part of that crackdown, Raoul filed a lawsuit against Glamour Services, LLC; Awe Struck, Inc.; and Matthew Glamkowski, the manager of Glamour Services and president of Awe Struck for allegedly using robocalling and telemarking to solicit home cleaning services. In May 2019, Raoul submitted comments to the Federal Communications Commission urging the adoption of its proposed rules on enforcement against caller ID spoofing.
Consumers who wish to file a consumer complaint concerning robocalls they have received can do so on the Attorney General’s website or by calling the Consumer Fraud Hotline at 1-800-243-0618. Information about how consumers can add their number to the Do Not Call registry is also available on the Attorney General’s website.
Joining Raoul in today’s brief are the attorneys general of Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.
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