An Illinois federal judge has ruled that a fundraising company working for a nonprofit, tax exempt organization did not violate the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) when it called a number listed on the National Do Not Call Registry because the activity fell within the nonprofit exemption of TCPA.
The ruling is significant as there has been a rash of TCPA litigation, which provides for automatic liability in the event a call is made to a mobile or residential line for marketing purposes without the recipient’s express written consent. There are exceptions to the prohibitions set forth in TCPA, including the exception that calls made by nonprofits are not considered solicitations that are prohibited by the TCPA.
In this case, the nonprofit fundraiser was making calls to individuals for the Breast Cancer Society, a tax exempt nonprofit organization, including to the named plaintiff, whose number was listed on the National Do Not Call Registry. The Judge found that the fundraiser was an agent of the Breast Cancer Society and made the calls on behalf of the Breast Cancer Society. Therefore, there was no violation of the TCPA as the TCPA does not apply to nonprofit organizations.
This ruling clearly upholds the TCPA exemption for nonprofit organizations, which is significant in the present atmosphere of widespread TCPA litigation.