CUNA Highlights League, CU Autodialer Suggestions to FCC

CUNA highlighted several credit unions and leagues emphasizing the critical importance of a narrow definition of an automated telephone dialing system (ATDS) in its reply comments to a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) petition Thursday. CUNA filed its original comments last week in response to the petition, which was issued by the FCC in light of a decision by the Ninth Circuit Court.

CUNA is concerned that an overly broad definition of an autodialer, and other provisions in July 2015 changes to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), creates uncertainty over credit unions’ ability to contact members with important account information.

The Ninth Circuit Court decided in Marks vs. Crunch San Diego, LLC that an ATDS need only have the capacity to dial stored numbers as a list to qualify as an autodialer, and autodialer activity is limited under the TCPA.

CUNA’s original comments note that the overly broad definition is “untethered from the TCPA’s text and purpose” and could even potentially sweep in all smartphones, “potentially subjecting nearly all American consumers to TCPA liability for their routine calls and texts.”

CUNA’s filing this week highlights comments submitted in response to the petition from:

  • Louisiana Credit Union League, which highlighted that credit union-member communications are “more than just a method of business communication, and that credit unions enjoy a special relationship with their member-owners, who expect their credit unions to share important information and to communicate effectively;
  • Ohio Credit Union League, which noted that defining that ATDS as Congress initially intended will help lift the threat of litigation against credit unions seeking to communicate effectively and efficiently with their members;
  • Wisconsin Credit Union League, which highlighted how credit unions seek to restore the balance Congress originally intended between protecting consumers from repetitive and ill-timed unsolicited telemarketing calls and preserving the ability of businesses to communicate with their members or customers;
  • Patelco CU, Pleasanton, Calif., which said overly broad interpretations inhibit efficient calling technologies and impose unnecessary procedures and costs on credit unions and other companies communicating with their customers; and
  • Sun East FCU, Aston, Pa., noted that uncertainty over the definition of ATDS creates doubt among some credit unions that even manual dialing to establish a live communication would run afoul of the TPCA’s autodialing calling restrictions.