Trouble for Direct Drop Voicemail Users?

When insideARM reported a First-in-the-Nation TCPA result, naturally it grabbed my attention. In the report, Attorney Eric Troutman outlined a decision that could have a profound effect on users of direct drop voicemail software.

The Background

As you very well know, the TCPA does not allow calls made to a cellphone using an ATDS. We've seen in case after case that there are no exceptions. As a result, many collection agencies have employed the use of software to circumvent this legislation. One such strategy is direct drop voicemails. This allows users to directly deposit a voicemail message intended for a customer without a call going through to the customers phone.

As Troutman explains, this was always a dangerous bet. The TCPA has time and time again been interpreted broadly by courts to include text messages and e-mails. Despite this menacing threat, millions of direct drop voicemails have been left, with the question of whether they are compliant still up in the air. Finally, we know for sure.

It was Karen Saunders who brought this case, the first of it's kind, to a Michigan Court. Defendant Dyck O'Neal, Inc., are users of direct drop voicemail.

The Decision

"The effect on Saunders is also the same in receiving a text message—which would fall under the TCPA—each time, she received a notification on her phone that she had a new message, and had to take steps to review or delete the message. In fact, voicemails are arguably more of a nuisance to consumers than text messages," said the Court.

So there's our answer - direct drop voicemails are not the way to circumvent the TCPA. As technology advances, so will the TCPA's scope of protection for consumers. Courts are constantly looking at the practical effects of technology on the consumer. In this case, unfortunately, consumer protection might mean the end of the direct drop voicemails, although a counter-decision may be forthcoming, says Troutman.

What It Means for You

Manual dialing solutions like Arbeit Click still protect agencies that use them against lawsuits, every time. As the TCPA seeks to leverage emerging technologies, you can choose to remain on the assuredly protected side of the constant battle by using software that adds 3 layers of human intervention and removes the 3-second pause. Click here to learn more.


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