According to recent reports, a federal lawsuit will NOT be dismissed by the court in a situation where a collection agency used a dialer to contact a debtor. The plaintiff in that suit, a debtor being dunned by the agency, was called on their cell phone from an automatic dialer. The law involved is the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, and it now involves debt collectors (it may have been designed to snag telemarketers).
Many large debt collectors use these dialer systems, and should be cautious about using them, and what numbers are fed into them.
Quoting from the case: The TCPA prohibits calls to certain telephone numbers,
including cellular telephone numbers, using an “automatic telephone
dialing system,” except in an emergency or with the recipient’s
“prior express consent.” 47 U.S.C. § 227 (b)(1). As defined in
the statute, an “automatic telephone dialing system” means
“equipment that has the capacity — (A) to store or produce
telephone numbers to be called, using a random or sequential number
generator; and (B) to dial such numbers.” 47 U.S.C. § 227 (a)(1).
The phrase “random or sequential number generator” is not defined.
As we understand these terms, “random number generation” means
random sequences of 10 digits, and “sequential number generation”
means (for example) (111) 111-1111, (111) 111-1112, and so on.
CPS’s expert states that early dialers operated in this fashion,
calling every conceivable telephone number. (Cutler Decl. ¶ 15.)
More recently, companies like Castel have developed dialers that
call lists of known telephone numbers — in this case, the telephone
numbers of CPS’s customers.
Read the case, itself, click here