February 06, 2020

NAFCU, trades ask FCC for autodialer definition

phoneIn a follow up to a petition filed in May 2018, NAFCU Wednesday joined with more than a dozen other trade groups and stakeholders to ask the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to clarify the definition of automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS) under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. The coalition previously petitioned the FCC for clarification following an appeals court's decision that invalidated the FCC's autodialer definition.

"With substantial progress made to combat illegal calls, the Commission should take action to ensure that consumers receive the important, and often time-sensitive, informational calls that legitimate businesses place by reforming the Commission’s TCPA interpretations," wrote the coalition. "Addressing unresolved TCPA issues should be one of the Commission’s very top priorities in 2020."

In the letter, the coalition outlines five reasons for the FCC to grant the petition and requests that the commission:

  • make clear that to be an ATDS, equipment must use a random or sequential number generator to store or produce numbers and dial those numbers without human intervention; and
  • find that only calls made using actual ATDS capabilities are subject to the TCPA’s restrictions.

Earlier this year, NAFCU Regulatory Affairs Counsel Mahlet Makonnen urged the FCC to grant a petition filed by Capital One Services, related to text messages transmitted through an ATDS.

Additionally, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will review the constitutionality of a provision of the TCPA which provides an exception for government-backed debt collection efforts. In a post on the association's Compliance, Risk & BSA Network, Makonnen explained the lawsuit's implications and offered insights into the current legal environment for member credit unions.

NAFCU has actively worked with the FCC on efforts to modernize the TCPA for more than three years, and will continue its advocacy to ensure credit unions can contact their members regarding important, time-sensitive information, without fear of frivolous litigation.

Most recently, NAFCU met with FCC Commissioner Michael O'Rielly to discuss ongoing efforts to eliminate illegal robocalls and to implement the new caller identification framework known as SHAKEN/STIR. In a letter following up on a meeting, the association reiterated its call for guidance and relief under the TCPA and shared concerns from member credit unions.