FCC Opens The Door To Vicarious Liability For Third-Party Telemarketing Under Certain Conditions
The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel
July/August 2013

Partners Steve Augustino, Alysa Hutnik and Lauri Mazzuchetti authored the Metropolitan Corporate Counsel article, "FCC Opens The Door To Vicarious Liability For Third-Party Telemarketing Under Certain Conditions." The article discusses the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)'s May 2013 ruling that sellers may be held vicarious liable under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). This Declaratory Ruling addressed third party liability for violations of the TCPA's Do No Call provisions and of prerecorded message restrictions, stating that sellers may be held liable but only for actions of third party telemarketers that are determined to be agents. This leaves courts to decide how the federal common law of agency should apply to a particular case in the future. This ruling will further serve as a reminder for sellers to carefully select and authorize those who sell the company's products and to modify monitoring of third parties' practices so as to reduce the risk of allegations of unlawful telemarketing.