February 13, 2019

NAFCU, in meetings at FCC, to seek clarity on 'autodialer'

autodialerNAFCU today will reiterate to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) its concerns related to the definition of an automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS) and the need for clarity under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) to ensure credit unions can contact their members without fear of breaking the law.

NAFCU Director of Regulatory Affairs Ann Kossachev will meet today with staff from Commissioner Geoffrey Starks' office. Starks replaced Commissioner Mignon Clyburn after she resigned from her seat in June 2018. Representatives from other financial services industry trades will also participate in the meeting. A meeting also scheduled for Wednesday with FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's office has been postponed.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court was asked to review the appellate court decision from last September, in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit expanded the definition of an autodialer. This request could delay the FCC's efforts to clarify the autodialer definition.

The Ninth Circuit's decision kept the autodialer definition largely in line with the one adopted by the FCC in its 2015 Declaratory Ruling and Order. In March 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit invalidated the FCC's definition of autodialer and rejected the commission's interpretation of when a caller violates the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by calling a reassigned number. Similarly, the Second and Third Circuit Courts have adopted a narrower definition of the FCC's order, for which NAFCU has also advocated.

NAFCU has actively worked with the FCC over the past three years to obtain more clarity and flexibility under the TCPA.