Is a Predictive Dialer an ATDS?


For those who are well-versed in law regarding call centers and the technology implemented into these environments in order to perform the necessary business functions, you may have come across the potential concerns regarding predictive dialers being a technology that could be seen as breaking the law.

This is due to a law that was passed in 1991 known as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, or TCPA, which was designed to help consumers protect their privacy and receive compensation should these rights be violated. Under this act, technology known as ATDS was defined and banned in order to make sure that businesses were not able to take advantage of consumer information and violate these rules. But what exactly is an ATDS, and is a predictive dialer considered one? Here is a thorough explanation of what ATDS means and whether or not predictive dialers fall under this category.

What is an ATDS?

ATDS is an acronym for automatic telephone dialing system or an autodialer that has the ability to dial numbers without the need for human intervention. This is illegal, as the federal law states that it is not permissible for companies to use an ATDS in order to call a wireless phone for telemarketing purposes without the written consent of the person who owns the number that is being dialed. Further broken down, the FCC has stated that an ATDS is classified as any hardware or software that has the capacity to store away or produce numbers that will be called by using a random (or sequential) number generator and a hardware or software that has the ability to then dial said numbers without the need for human intervention. While the legal area for most call center software is gray in this area, certain call center software and hardware should be safe if they do not explicitly meet these requirements.

Is predictive dialer software an ATDS?

While the topic is still hotly debated in the court of law, predictive dialer software is currently not deemed an ATDS. While this software does allow call centers to automatically dial numbers, courts in the past have determined this type of software cannot be considered an ATDS because it does not generate and store phone numbers either randomly or sequentially, rather,  it dials numbers based on a set list that has already been inserted into the system. Fortunately enough, this means that it is safe for call centers to use predictive dialing software for their own telemarketing needs without running the risk of facing charges as a result. As long as you make sure that your software adheres to the definition above and does not generate any phone numbers on its own, you will be able to use a predictive dialer software for your needs.

For some, the idea of using a predictive dialer software may be risky, as they may have heard of the many court cases being presented in which a defendant has attempted to go after companies due to the TCPA. Knowing exactly what the TCPA and ATDS entail can make a world of difference in your business practices, and will allow you to implement certain hardware and software without hesitation or fear.

If you have been on the fence about installing predictive dialing because of something you may have heard, you can rest assured knowing that you can use predictive dialing software safely as long as it does not meet the full definition as listed under ATDS technology and does not violate the TCPA.