FCC Clarifies the TCPA Prohibition on Autodialers

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In response to P2P Alliance’s (P2P) Petition for Clarification, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) adopted a Declaratory Ruling that clarifies the Telephone Consumer Protection Act’s (TCPA) prohibition on autodialers. Under the TCPA, providers are prohibited from autodialing or using artificial voice calls or texts to wireless telephone numbers without prior express consent, unless the call or text is an emergency. P2P, a coalition of providers and users of peer-to-peer text messaging services for schools, non-profits, and other groups, wanted clarification that providers were not in violation of the TCPA requirements by enabling a two-way text platform that requires a person to manually send each text message one at a time, although in large volume.

The FCC made clear that the volume of calls made or texts sent is not probative of a provider being considered an autodialer. It concluded that if a calling platform is not capable of originating a call or sending a text without a person actively and affirmatively dialing each one, it is not an “autodialer” under the TCPA.

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