Appeals Court Invalidates TCPA’s Exemption to Automated-Call Prohibition for Collection of Debts Owed to or Guaranteed by the Federal Government

With Hobbs Act Case Pending in Supreme Court, 4th Circuit’s Decision May Implicate Fate of Other FCC-Created Exceptions and Allowances Under TCPA’s Automated-Call Ban

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit has held that an exemption Congress created in 2015 to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), allowing autodialed and/or prerecorded calls for collecting debts owed to or guaranteed by the federal government, as an exception to the act’s general statutory ban on such calls, violates the First Amendment. However, the court held that this exemption is severable from the preexisting statute, and thus rejected efforts to strike the autodialer/prerecorded-call prohibition altogether, in favor of invalidating just the government-debt-collection exemption.