On the same day (Sept. 5th) that InsideARM announced, “A federal judge in Pennsylvania has ruled that the TCPA does not apply to debt-collection calls, even calls made to cellular telephones,” IAT announced the release of SmartCell, a manual dialing application developed for contacting cell phones. Although the PA decision is a local one, it could be a precedent-setting case in the growing number of confusing interpretations of the TCPA.
“SmartCell does not have predictive/automated dialing or number generation capabilities,” therefore, it seems to provide a solution to a situations similar to one where a federal court in Wisconsin ruled that “preview dialing,” a form of automated dialing that requires human intervention to initiate the call, fell within the TCPA’s coverage because, although it did not use the predicative dialer, it still had the capacity to perform “predictive dialing.” The decision was later vacated by the court and the case dismissed.
The PA decision is in the minority, as almost all cases concerning the issue have determined that debt-collection calls made to cellular telephones using an automatic telephone dialing system or a pre-recorded voice violate the TCPA, if the called party has not provided their “prior express consent” to receiving such calls. What constitutes “prior express consent” is also being debated in the courts, making calling even these cell phones somewhat risky.
Compliant cell-phone-contacting technology released by IAT
Compliance is a major and often confusing issue for creditors, collection agencies and attorneys. Dialing technology vendors, while trying their best to provide equipment that is compliant with as many of the contradictory regulations as possible, usually state that the burden of compliance falls on the user.
IAT boldly states that “SmartCell is THE answer. Today’s regulations regarding cell phones and dialers don’t need to hinder your productivity,” said Dave Rudd, IAT co-owner and Sr. VP of Finance & Administration. “We’ve seen too many agencies that, in an effort to stay compliant, have allocated additional staff to manually dial every cell phone number and transfer those calls to waiting agents. Now [they] don’t need to do that. Agents can easily make their own manual calls and managers can supervise agents using traditional IAT management tools.”
IAT SmartDial®, a Utah-based company and an NL vendor partner, is a leader in predictive dialing technology for the ARM industry. “The SmartCell dialing software is a manual dialer built on the CT Center® platform (IAT’s site-premised dialer). Accounts are distributed from a list and agents are prompted to enter phone numbers using either a single button push or manually via a number key pad. The system verifies the number entered before placing the call.”
SmartCell can run independently or interface with IAT’s dialing products CT Center and CT Impact. Management and compliance features offered in IAT’s traditional dialing technology are also available for SmartCell.
“ARM industry regulations are rapidly changing and agencies must be able to adapt to them,” said Randy Cooper, IAT co-owner and President/CEO. “IAT is serious about providing compliance capable technology that will meet those evolving needs and still make agencies productive. SmartCell has the simplicity required for a manual-only platform with the SmartDial management platform to keep your agents efficient.” To learn more about SmartCell, visit this link.
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By Marti Lythgoe, National List Editor