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Massachusetts Court Ruling Holds that ATD Definition Is Based on Capability, Not Use

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August 22, 2014

Massachusetts Court Ruling Holds that ATD Definition Is Based on Capability, Not Use

By Matt Paulson, TMCnet Contributing Writer

Automated Telephone Dialing Systems (ATDS) are banned by the FCC (News - Alert), but the definition of what exactly qualifies as an ATDS is often disputed. Some devices that mimic ATDS features but otherwise don't qualify as violations of the TCPA are able to get away on technicalities, but one of those loopholes may have just recently been closed by a recent ruling in a Massachusetts courtroom, according to a report on

In the recent court case Davis v. Diversified Consultants, Inc., Diversified was called to defend their use of a telephone-system operated by cloud-based server LiveVox (News - Alert). The issue arose from the fact that the LiveVox system is able to store and dial numbers sequentially. However, Diversified Consultants tried to skirt the issue by explaining that other features of the platform had caught their attention. The company claimed that it did not use the sequential dialer or store numbers in the system for longer than 24 hours, and therefore that the device failed to meet the court definition of an ATDS.

However, the ruling came down that the device still qualified as an ATDS on the basis that it was capable of storing numbers, independent of whether or not Diversified used them as such. “The undisputed evidence here clearly establishes that the LiveVox system has the capacity to store telephone numbers,” said the presiding U.S. District Court Judge, F. Dennis Saylor IV. “[I]t is undisputed that the system stores numbers for at least the course of a single day. The TCPA, on its face, does not require storage for any length of time. In any event, the system here has the capacity to do so.”

In courts across the country, this case might be used to set a precedent on what devices qualify as an ATDS. The fact that devices that are capable of violating the TCPA are prohibited by this case might very well seal up the technicalities that let telemarketers get away with using an ATDS.

Edited by Rory J. Thompson

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