After the potentially game-changing ATDS ruling in the Third Circuit, another change to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) may be on the horizon, after seven Democratic members of the US House of Representatives introduced H.R.8334, the Robotext Spam Prevention Act.
As the bill’s name suggests, the legislation is generally aimed at limiting unsolicited text messages. To help do so, it would alter the language of the TCPA to explicitly include text messaging.
The bill also serves as a response to the Supreme Court’s ruling in last year’s Facebook v. Duguid case, which narrowed the TCPA’s definition of automated telephone dialing systems (ATDS). After the Facebook case and under the TCPA, an ATDS is defined as “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.” The Robotext Spam Prevention Act would eliminate the phrase “using a random or sequential number generator” from this definition.
This proposed change could have huge implications for lead generation and sales teams dialing potential customers. Not only would the bill give the FCC power to define terms in the TCPA like “automatically,” “dial,” and “send,” but by once again expanding the TCPA’s ATDS definition, it’s likely that the regulations would once again cover the use of predictive dialers. As compliance expert and attorney Michele Shuster of Mac Murray & Shuster, LLP writes, “It’s not inconceivable that businesses may need to dust off pre-Facebook click-to-dial systems if this bill progresses further.”
On the bright side, the bill would also see the creation of a safe harbor for calls made to reassigned numbers, so long as callers are using the reassigned number database.
However, it’s still early days for H.R.8334: there’s a long way to go before this bill potentially becomes the law of the land. And as our friends at Contact Center Compliance said optimistically, just a small percentage of bills introduced ultimately become law—between 3 and 8% in recent years.
Given its potential to disrupt the way outbound sales and lead gen teams do business though, Convoso will continue to monitor activity around this legislation in the coming weeks and months. And, as always, we’ll be here with the support and technology updates to help your business continue to thrive in an ever-changing compliance landscape.
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