U.S. Supreme Court narrows TCPA definition in a victory for business defendants

The final definition of automated telephone dialing system is favorable, but credit unions must still document their outgoing calls and texts

In a recent 9-0 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the definition of an automated telephone dialing system under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act is a device that must have the capacity to either store or produce a telephone number using a random or sequential number generator. This ruling is seen as a victory for businesses—including credit unions—that are sued for making unwanted telephone calls and sending unwanted text messages.

The case, entitled Facebook, Inc. v. Duguid et al., overturned the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision that Facebook violated the TCPA when it sent Duguid text messages each time someone attempted to login to a Facebook account he did not even have that was tied to his telephone number. The Ninth Circuit reasoned the ATDS definition under the TCPA applies to systems with the capacity to dial stored numbers. Facebook appealed this decision and the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.

Section 227(a)(1) of the TCPA defines an ATDS 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.”


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