Proposed Bill Could Expand ATDS Definition Under the TCPA
On July 12, 2022, U.S. Representatives Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) and Katie Porter (D-CA) introduced a bill called the Robotext Scam Prevention Act with U.S. Reps. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA), Danny Davis (D-IL), Jimmy Gomez (D-CA), and Shontel Brown (D-OH).
The bill is entitled “H.R.8334 – To amend the Communications Act of 1934 to prohibit the use of automated telephone equipment to send unsolicited text messages, and for other purposes” and can be found here. The bill would seek to specifically amend Section 227 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 227).
The bill would first amend the term “automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS),”
FROM: “Equipment that has the capacity to store or produce telephone numbers to be called, using a random or sequential number generator; and to dial such numbers.”
TO: “Equipment that has the capacity to store or produce telephone numbers to be called or sent text message; and automatically dial or send a text message to dial such numbers.”
The bill would not prohibit situations where an automatic telephone dialing system is used to call or text a number held by a person who consented to receiving such calls/texts, as long as the caller/texter first checks the FCC Reassigned Telephone Number Database and determines the number had not been reassigned to a new person since consent was given.
The bill would also require the Federal Communications Commission to issue a rule, within 18 months of the law’s enactment, that “with consideration to modern dialing practices and consumer preferences” to define the terms “automatically,” “dial,” “send,” and “charged for the call,” as used in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
How does this affect Customer Outreach?
Although the bill was only introduced for discussion, if enacted, the ATDS definition would vastly expand to include more devices and could possibly heighten the rise of TCPA class action lawsuits. This could greatly impact any company that places calls or sends text messages for marketing or sales, informational, or collections purposes.
If you have additional questions about the TCPA or ATDS, or other questions related to telemarketing compliance, do not hesitate to reach out to us at email@example.com.
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