In 2015 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) outlined new rules regarding the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). This anticipated ruling brought into light the definition of “capacity” with respect to “automatic telephone dialing system”.
Let’s take a look at what this means for your organization and how you can maintain compliance in 2016. We’ll start with the FCC’s definition of the autodialer in the Declaratory Ruling.
Scope and Definition of an Autodialer
equipment which has the capacity—
(A) to store or produce telephone numbers to be called, using a random or sequential number generator; and
(B) to dial such numbers. 47 U.S.C. § 227(a)(1) (emphasis added).
The FCC concluded that “the TCPA’s use of ‘capacity’ does not exempt equipment that lacks the ‘present ability’ to dial randomly or sequentially.” Rather, “the capacity of an autodialer is not limited to its current configuration but also includes its potential functionalities.” This clarification of the definition of an autodialer is really important, because it voids the widely adopted strategy of manually dialing mobile phone numbers. If the phone you are using to manually dial mobile phone numbers is still considered an autodialer under the law, it doesn’t matter if you manually dial or autodial the number.
This is especially important in the for-profit school sector as it defines what is considered consent when dealing with TCPA language in respect to prospective students. Not only is it important to gain permission once the prospective students’ identification has been established, it is imperative that there are clear steps and language to opt-out of receiving calls or text messages should the consumer decide no further contact is desired.
To learn more about the ruling and how to maintain your TCPA compliance, contact us at 888-547-7110.