Court Ruling Could Lead to More Robocalls on Your Smartphone

Those firms making annoying robocalls on smartphones just got more leeway and power in doing what they do.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled against part of a Federal Communications Commission regulation aimed at cutting down on the automated phone solicitations. The rules targeted calls generated by auto-dialing devices but the Appeals Court said the language was too broad and could mean any calls from any smartphone could be banned.

As Bloomberg News reported, some consumer advocates think it’ll only increase the number of pesky calls. U.S. consumers already get about 2.5 billion robocalls a month and they remain the top consumer complaint to the FCC. More than 200,000 are received every year.

It’s what prompted the FCC in 2015 to target the robocalls but the three-judge panel said it would also constraining hundreds of millions of everyday callers.

They wrote that under the FCC rule “any uninvited call or message from the device is a statutory violation.”

Republicans applauded the ruling suggesting the ruling puts consumers in control.

“As the court explains, the agency’s 2015 ruling placed every American consumer with a smartphone at substantial risk of violating federal law,” Chairman Ajit Pai said in an emailed statement. Pai, as a commission member, dissented from the FCC’s 2015 vote.

The rule exposed companies to liability “for simply attempting in good faith to communicate with customers who previously provided valid consent to be contacted,” according to a statement from the law firm Gibson Dunn, which took part in the case on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.