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Credit unions are celebrating the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion released on April 1st in the case of Facebook, Inc v. Duguid. The case involved the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) and what it defines as an “automatic telephone dialing system” or “autodialer”.  According to the TCPA, autodialers are equipment with the capacity both to store or produce telephone numbers to be called, using random or sequential number generator and to dial such numbers. In this particular case, Duguid received text messages from Facebook that are intended to alert the recipient that someone has made an attempt to login to their account from a new device or browser. Duguid received the text messages despite him never having a Facebook account but his phone number was linked to an account. Facebook denied violating the TCPA because the technology that it used did not use a random or sequential number generator but the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed and ruled against Facebook.  

In their 9-0 vote reversing the Ninth Circuit’s ruling, the Supreme Court found that the language of the TCPA’s autodialer definition excludes equipment that does not use a random or sequential number generator. “To qualify as an automatic telephone dialing system, a device must have the capacity either to store a telephone number using a random or sequential generator or to produce a telephone number using a random or sequential number generator.” The opinion cited that to accept Duguid’s interpretation of the definition of autodialer would essentially classify all modern mobile phones as autodialers because “they have the capacity to store telephone numbers to be called and dial such numbers”.  The Court’s decision is a great victory for businesses, like credit unions, that have real and legitimate purposes to contact their members via telephone or text especially for notification purposes on the member’s account.