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Outbound Call Center and Telemarketing TCPA Case Update

On March 16, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit released it decision in the ACA Int’l vs. FCC case, about 17 months after oral argument.
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By Angela Garfinkel, President

TCPA Case Update

On March 16, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit released it decision in the ACA Int’l vs. FCC case, about 17 months after oral argument. The decision provided some relief for companies that use the telephone to make outbound telemarketing contacts.

The court’s decision set aside the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) broad definition of an automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS) and its reassigned telephone numbers ruling in 2015 but failed to provide relief for handling revocation of consent.

QCS Takeaways from the U.S. Court of Appeals Decision

Generally speaking, we think the court’s decision is positive for Quality Contact Solutions and our clients. However, it is still a ‘wait and see’ situation because the court’s decision didn’t provide clear guidance on what an ATDS is, just that an overly broad definition is not reasonable.

At QCS, we’ll continue to dial wireless and VoIP phone numbers using our Compliance Phone™ from Quality Voice & Data, which has no capacity to store or dial phone number automatically. Some of our owner-operators use other forms of technology to place outbound calls to wireless and VoIP phone numbers and where they have a solid non-ATDS system, backed by a legal opinion letter, we’ll continue to allow those dials. For now, we won’t loosen the reins because we don’t want to be a test case for the industry. We’ll keep doing what we’ve been doing since the declaratory ruling in July 2015.

As industry leaders we’ll closely monitor how the ATDS definition battle plays out and hopefully we will get some great news soon. In an ideal world, courts will start defining an ATDS as a system that has the present capacity to store and dial number automatically (removing the theoretical capacity or future capacity argument). That would be a big relief.

Reassigned Phone Numbers Hold Less Risk Now

Regarding reassigned phone numbers, we’re happy that we’re no longer liable if we call a wireless or VoIP phone number that has been reassigned to another person. Previously, a company would be at risk of liability ($1500 per call) if they called a reassigned phone number more than one time and didn’t have prior express consent (PEC) for non-sales calls and prior express written consent (PEWC) for telemarketing sales calls.

Want to learn more? Here are a few good summaries from members of the Professional Association of Customer Engagement.

Understanding the D.C. Circuit Court TCPA Opinion

Top Takeaways from the D.C. Circuit’s Long-Awaited TCPA Decision

In addition, we have a TCPA compliance and telemarketing compliance consulting practice serving numerous clients in a variety of industries. Give me a call if you want to learn more. 516-656-5118.

Here are some other relevant articles on this topic:

How to Ensure TCPA Consent for Outbound Telemarketing
Are Nonprofits & Associations Exempt from the DNC List?
Telemarketing Services and Non-ATDS Dialing Best Practice

AND – if you’re not a PACE USA DNC Regulatory Guide subscriber – you should be! Send me an email and ask how you can get a $200 discount off the regular price.

Angela Garfinkel
is the President and Founder of Quality Contact Solutions, a leading outsourced telemarketing services organization. Angela has the pleasure of leading a talented team that runs thousands of outbound telemarketing program hours on a daily basis. Angela is also a certified Self-Regulatory Organization (SRO) auditor with the Professional Association for Customer Engagement and she is a designated Customer Engagement Compliance Professional (CECP). Angela can be reached at or 516.656.5118.


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