Web-Based Dialing System Does Not Violate TCPA Prohibitions on Use of Automatic Telephone Dialing Systems

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The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois has found that a debt collector’s use of a web-based dialing system to contact an individual’s cell phone without permission does not violate the Telephone Consumer Protection Act’s (“TCPA”), 47 U.S.C. § 227, prohibition on the use of Automatic Telephone Dialing Systems (“ATDS”). The plaintiff in Arora v. Transworld Systems Inc., 2017 WL 3620742 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 23, 2017) alleged that Transworld System Inc.’s (“Transworld”) calls to his cell phone without his consent constituted prohibited use of an ATDS pursuant to the TCPA.

The TCPA defines an ATDS as equipment that can store or produce phone numbers to be called and dial those numbers. Transworld argued that its system requires human input to make calls, specifically to comply with the TCPA. A human employee must manually initiate each call after confirming the number. That human employee must further verify that a live agent is available to speak with the call recipient, and transfer the call to that agent if the call is answered. The Court rejected the plaintiff’s argument that Transworld used an automated system, and further found that plaintiff had provided no evidence to support his contentions that the company’s system could be used as an ATDS. Because all of Transworld’s calls to the plaintiff were made on a system that was not an autodialer, and because all calls made required human intervention, the Court granted summary judgment to Transworld.

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