House Leaders Task FCC to Define ATDS in Bipartisan Bill on Robocall Practices

The House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology will hold a markup on the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act legislation next week.

6/20/2019 11:30 AM

House Leaders Task FCC to Define ATDS in Bipartisan Bill on Robocall Practices

The Federal Communications Commission is tasked with providing clarity on its definition of an automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS) in a new version of the bipartisan Stopping Bad Robocalls Act introduced June 20 by U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Ranking Member U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore.

The revised bipartisan legislation, with additional co-sponsors U.S. Reps. Bob Latta, R-Ohio, Republican leader of the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, and Mike Doyle, R-Pa., chairman of the subcommittee, was introduced following an April legislative hearing on a proposal to stop robocall practices.

Concerns with the proposal presented by ACA International were discussed during the April legislative hearing, some of which appear to also be addressed in the new legislation.

The legislation also addresses several issues with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act including reassigned numbers and includes similar language to the FCC declaratory ruling concerning a default opt out for call blocking services. It also adds a problematic definition of “called party” that does not align with ACA’s efforts to seek clarity on that issue with the FCC.

The FCC is required to provide clarity on the ATDS definition within six months of the legislation’s effective date if it is approved by Congress and signed into law.

The proposed legislation also commands the FCC to ensure the call blocking services approved on an opt-out basis pursuant to the declaratory ruling in effect June 6, 2019, are provided with “transparency and effective redress options” for consumers and callers.

In a letter submitted to the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology for the April legislative hearing on the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act, ACA CEO Mark Neeb outlined specific areas that slow the industry’s ability to connect with consumers for legitimate business purposes.

“We ask that the subcommittee, in addition to considering the problems created by illegal actors making robocalls, also consider the importance of legitimate business calls currently impeded by onerous TCPA requirements,” Neeb said in the letter to Doyle and Latta.

ACA’s letter was submitted for the record at the end of the hearing in April and the association also continues to advocate on behalf of the industry now that the FCC's declaratory ruling on default call blocking is in effect.

As part of our larger ongoing advocacy efforts surrounding TCPA reform, ACA will continue to work with the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Congress and regulators including the FCC to help them understand the importance of calls about a consumer’s financial situation that they often want and need.

Related Content from ACA International:

House Subcommittee Discusses ACA Concerns at Legislative Hearing on Robocalls

TRACED Act Clears Senate

ACA International Challenges Stopping Bad Robocalls Act

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