The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau investigation found that the calls in this case were apparently prerecorded and made to consumers’ wireless phones without the required prior consent. Subject to narrow exceptions, the TCPA prohibits making prerecorded voice calls to wireless phones without the consent of those receiving the calls – regardless of the content of the calls. The robocalls in this case, made on August 26 and September 14, 2020, used messages telling potential voters that, if they vote by mail, their “personal information will be part of a public database that will be used by police departments to track down old warrants and be used by credit card companies to collect outstanding debts.” The Commission began its investigation following consumer complaints and concerns raised by a non-profit organization.
The Enforcement Bureau worked with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office to identify two dialing service providers that provided subpoena responses confirming the robocall campaigns and identifying the clients who had hired them for this service. The Bureau used the subpoenaed call records and recordings of the calls to determine that the calls apparently went to wireless phones and the message was prerecorded. The consumers who agreed to speak with the Bureau about the calls confirmed they had not provided prior consent to the callers. The subpoenas also produced email exchanges between the dialing service vendors and Wohl and Burkman about the call campaigns – including choosing which zip codes to target and “the tape we want to go out.”
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