A group of 17 different trade associations, including ACA International, have asked the Federal Communications Commission to “expeditiously” clarify what constitutes an automated telephone dialing system under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
The groups sent a letter to the FCC on Wednesday, reminding the regulator that it has been 21 months since they submitted a petition requesting a Declaratory Ruling on the matter.
The groups that submitted the letter were: the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, ACA International, American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management, American Bankers Association, American Financial Services Association, Consumer Bankers Association, Credit Union National Association, Edison Electric Institute, Electronic Transactions Association, Home Furnishings Association, Insights Association, Mortgage Bankers Association, National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions, National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, National Retail Federation, Restaurant Law Center, and Student Loan Servicing Alliance.
Pointing out that the Appeals Courts are issuing differing rulings in what defines an ATDS, the groups urged the FCC to make “unresolved TCPA issues” one of its top priorities in 2020.
The definition of an ATDS has been in limbo since March 2018, when the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia struck down parts of an FCC Declaratory Ruling from 2015. Since then, it has been up to the courts to determine what defines an ATDS. And there have been some glaring inconsistencies, most notably between the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in its ruling in Marks v. Crunch San Diego and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in its ruling in Glasser v. Hilton Grand Vacations.
“With uncertainty continuing to grow through a confusing patchwork of court interpretations and abusive TCPA litigation continuing to threaten legitimate U.S. businesses, we urge the Commission to act immediately to clarify the definition of ATDS,” the groups wrote in the letter. “The Commission can issue an interpretation of ATDS that facilitates the ability of businesses to use modern technologies to communicate with their customers effectively and efficiently. The Commission can take this action without impairing its important work to combat illegal automated calls. There is no reason for further delay.”