FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 11, 2020
Credit Union National Association (CUNA) filed a brief today supporting Facebook in the U.S. Supreme Court case to appropriately limit the scope of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act’s (TCPA) definition of an automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS).
In the brief, CUNA raises concerns about the TCPA’s effect on credit unions and their members who could benefit from use of more efficient technology systems to convey important information regarding accounts, including mandatory servicing calls and fraud alerts.
Unfortunately, misinterpretations of the scope of the ATDS definition by lower courts has led to an uptick in TCPA lawsuits filed against credit unions, including three recent cases filed at the federal level.
“With the threat of litigation against leanly staffed credit unions chilling their use of more efficient means of communicating with their members, consumers run the risk of missing out on important information regarding their accounts, including vital information during natural disasters and the COVID-19 crisis. It is critically important that the ATDS definition is clarified so that communications from credit unions – and other upstanding institutions like those in the healthcare and educational fields– are not hindered from sharing vital information,” said CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle. “We stand alongside countless organizations such as Facebook in need of technology options that allow them to effectively contact their customers.”
CUNA supports the narrow interpretation of ATDS definition adopted by several Circuit courts, as it is consistent with the purposes of the TCPA and would bring clarity to the regulatory and legal minefield that America’s credit unions are currently facing. The brief supports Facebook’s argument that consumer harms can be avoided by narrowly defining an ATDS to apply only to equipment that has the capacity to generate random or sequential numbers and to automatically call those numbers.
The 1991 passage of the TCPA by Congress sought to create a definition of ATDS that would help prevent the growth of robocalls. However, CUNA maintains that a broad definition of ATDS adopted by some courts “does nothing to curb illegal robocalls by bad actors,” as noted in the brief, but “it does further open the floodgates of litigation against credit unions and other legitimate companies.”
CUNA has called for clarification from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on this issue since its 2015 TCPA rulemaking.
Credit Union National Association (CUNA) is the only national association that advocates on behalf of all of America’s credit unions, which are owned by 120 million consumer members. CUNA, along with its network of affiliated state credit union leagues, delivers unwavering advocacy, continuous professional growth and operational confidence to protect the best interests of all credit unions. For more information about CUNA, visit cuna.org. To find your nearest credit union, visit YourMoneyFurther.com.