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School of Law releases report on Telephone Consumer Protection Act

Loyola University Chicago’s Institute for Consumer Antitrust Studies released today “The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991: Adapting Consumer Protection to Changing Technology,” the first comprehensive study of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

The TCPA restricts telephone solicitations and the use of automated telephone equipment. Since its passage more than 20 years ago, the TCPA has been amended, interpreted, and applied to literally thousands of cases.

Loyola’s report examines the effectiveness of the law in light of changing technology, which can both empower consumers and make them vulnerable to new and increasingly sophisticated schemes to defraud. The report also proposes changes and amendments to the statute, its rules, and enforcement, including expanding state and federal enforcement to better protect consumers from unwanted text advertisements.

The study was funded by a cy pres award from a TCPA class action case in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. In a cy pres award, a court may order that the funds be used for grants to benefit the class action members indirectly to compensate for the harm to the members. Non-profit organizations, including universities, are frequent recipients of cy pres awards.

“We are extremely grateful for the opportunity to partake in the first comprehensive study of the TCPA since its passage,” said Spencer Weber Waller, professor of law and director of Loyola’s Institute for Consumer Antitrust Studies. “A thorough analysis of this important statue is necessary to ensure that it remains current, relevant, and effective in protecting consumers today.”

Daniel Heidtke, a 2012 graduate of Loyola University Chicago’s School of Law and former Institute for Consumer Antitrust Studies student fellow, served as the principle investigator of the study. The final draft of the report was completed and edited by Jessica Stewart, also a 2012 law graduate of Loyola University Chicago. The report and executive summary are available at LUC.edu/law/centers/antitrust/publications/index.html.

This study is one of many projects undertaken by Loyola’s Institute for Consumer Antitrust Studies, a non-partisan, independent academic center designed to explore the impact of antitrust enforcement on the individual consumer and the public, and to shape policy issues. The professors, staff, and student fellows of the institute work on cutting-edge research, publications, conferences, and public-policy initiatives to promote a more consumer friendly competitive economy.

For more information about the institute or the TCPA report, visit LUC.edu/antitrust or contact Waller at swalle1@luc.edu.

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