RILA Comments on Advanced Methods to Target and Eliminate
The Retail Industry Leaders Association (“RILA”) respectfully submits these Comments in response to the Commission’s Second Notice of Inquiry on Methods to Target and Eliminate Unlawful Robocalls (the “Notice of Inquiry”). RILA’s members include retail companies that engage in consumer outreach and endeavor to honor consumers’ expectations regarding such communications. However, as the Notice of Inquiry acknowledges, consumers’ expectations and callers’ compliance efforts can be frustrated if a telephone number has been reassigned from one consumer to another without the caller’s knowledge. The Notice of Inquiry seeks comment on ways to reduce the number of calls to reassigned numbers—and by extension the number of abusive lawsuits that result from such calls—by making better use of carriers’ reassignment data. RILA applauds the Commission’s renewed attention to the problem of reassigned numbers, which put callers in the untenable position of having to choose between risking unavoidable liability from calls to numbers that they did not know had been reassigned, or refraining from communicating with consumers altogether. Rather than chill speech and demand the impossible, the Commission should facilitate useful and desirable communications by establishing a comprehensive database of reassigned numbers coupled with a safe harbor that would encourage callers to use it. Doing so would help to ensure not only that consumers continue to receive important information but also that callers do not continue to be threatened with liability for inadvertently calling numbers that they did not know had been reassigned.