• U.S. Supreme Court Rules On The Definition Of Auto-dialer

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    May 25, 2021
    BBB® Tuesday Tips
    Businesses that rely on telemarketing calls will be interested in the Supreme Court’s clarification of the definition of an auto-dialer.
    The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) is a 1991 law protecting U.S. cell phone users from unwanted robocalls. The ruling stemmed from a Montana man suing Facebook to stop texting him about an unauthorized user of a social media account that he never had. Attorneys argued that Facebook's automated messages violated the act's rule against auto-dialed calls and texts to cellphones. The Supreme Court resolved a difference of opinion among Federal Courts and clarified that Facebook’s targeted texts did not use an auto-dialer and did not violate TCPA.
    BBB offers the following tips for businesses when it comes to collecting information and contacting customers:
    • BBB encourages businesses to develop and define what information they capture and how they intend to communicate (method, type of information and frequency) to maintain a positive relationship with customers.
    • Policies should be clear and transparent and work to benefit both the consumer and the business.
    • Separate from any legal requirements, practical policies should not be abused, since consumers will likely disengage (i.e., opt out) if a business communicates too frequently, with information not requested by the consumer, or in a manner that the consumer feels is not consistent with the agreement established.
    • Abuse of trust can create a negative image of industry or the business, and lead to a perceived need for regulation.
    • Best practices include an opt in feature, ability to indicate which type of information is acceptable to send, preferred manner of communication, preferred frequency, and the ability to update any of these parameters (e.g., opt out or limit contact).
    BBB encourages businesses to be transparent, operate with integrity, and be honest with customers/potential customers. Additionally, being responsive to requests by consumers to limit or end communication is essential for good businesses.
    Find more information on BBB.org/smallbusiness and the BBB Code of Advertising.
    Photo Courtesy of Getty Images
    BBB of Northwest Florida
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    Tammy Ward, Communications Director
    tammy@nwfl.bbb.org, (850) 429-0002