TCPA: Automatic Telephone Dialing System or ATDS
TCPA lawyers are familiar with the terms automatic telephone dialing system, or autodialers (ATDS for short). Collection calls or telemarketing calls from autodialers are often referred to as robocalls. But what is an autodialer?
The FCC defines an autodialer as equipment that has the capacity to dial without human intervention. Whether equipment is an ATDS is important for purposes of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which prohibits collection calls or telemarketing calls to a cellular telephone without the prior express consent of the person who is called.
An ATDS is “equipment that has the capacity to (a) store or produce telephone numbers to be called, using a random or sequential number generator; and (b) to dial such numbers.” The FCC deems any equipment or software that has the capacity to generate numbers and dial them without human intervention an ATDS, regardless of whether the numbers called are randomly or sequentially generated or come from calling lists.
An FCC Declaratory ruling and Order that became effective on July 10, 2015 rejected the argument that an ATDS should be limited to a system that has the “current” or “present capacity” to dial numbers randomly or sequentially. According to the FCC, an ATDS includes equipment that has the “potential functionality” to dial randomly or sequentially. Under the FCC’s definition, dialing equipment generally meets the TCPA’s autodialer definition, even if it is not presently used for that purpose.
If you are receiving collection calls that include automated messages, the creditor or debt collector is probably using an autodialer. Autodialers are a tool used by debt collectors to make harassing collection calls that cause stress and interrupt your daily life. If you are receiving collection calls on your mobile phone, the TCPA allows you to put an end to these collection calls. If you or someone you know are receiving unwanted collection or marketing calls, contact our office at (248) 663-5155 to speak with a knowledgeable TCPA lawyer.