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Trade groups petition FCC to clarify definition of autodialer under TCPA

Federal Issues TCPA Consumer Finance FCC Autodialer

Federal Issues

On May 3, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Bankers Association, and over a dozen more trade associations petitioned the FCC seeking a declaratory ruling on the definition of an “automatic telephone dialing system” (autodialer) under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The petition results from the recent D.C. Circuit decision (covered by a Buckley Sandler Special Alert), which struck down the FCC’s 2015 definition of an autodialer as “unreasonably expansive” because it failed to adequately describe what functions qualify a device as an autodialer. The petition seeks clarity on the definition of an autodialer that is subject to Section 227(b) of the TCPA, and specifically requests the FCC state that in order to be considered an autodialer, the equipment must “store or produce numbers to be called, using a random or sequential number generator, and dial such numbers.” Additionally, the petition requests that only calls made using the actual autodialer capabilities be subject to the restrictions of the TCPA. The petitioners argue that adopting the requested definition would “ensure that legitimate businesses can contact their consumers without fearing a lawsuit under Section 227(b) of the TCPA.”

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