NEWS21 November 2012

MRA comes to the defence of auto-diallers

Legal North America

US— The Marketing Research Association (MRA) is backing a petition to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to allow the use of predictive diallers when calling mobile phones for surveys.

The petition was submitted by a group of ‘Communications Innovators’ following the FCC’s “expansive” definition of an automatic telephone dialling system, or auto-dialler, which “goes beyond” the terms of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

It was filed to “eliminate significant confusion regarding the applicability of the Commission’s TCPA rules to ‘predictive diallers’ used to provide informational, non-telemarketing calls to consumers”.

The MRA agreed with the petition’s opinion that the FCC did not “intend to restrict” the use of technologies like auto-dialler, but noted that “the Commission’s 2003 interpretations… created an unnecessarily expansive and confusing regulatory landscape for conducting survey, opinion and marketing research in the United States.

“In order to protect our members, MRA has had to recommend consistently that the research profession avoid essentially any automation in research calls to cell phones and rely instead on insufficient and costly manually dialling by hand.”

The MRA went on to say that the FCC’s interpretations of auto-dialler were “somewhat antiquated”, given the advances in technology over the last few years.

“We also requested,” the MRA continued, “that should the FCC decline to appropriately clarify the definition of an automatic telephone dialling system, the FCC instead rule that bona fide survey, opinion and marketing research calls be excluded from the TCPA restrictions on auto-dialler calls to cell phones. Congress empowered the Commission with the authority to make such necessary exclusions.”

Clik here to read the MRA’s full set of comments to the FCC.