~.~AY- 8 2006
CCS Financial SeNices,' Inc.
Two Wells Avenue
Newton, MA 02459
Telephone: (617) 965-2QOO
April 27, 2006
',_iL_R_O_O_~MPA N I E S·
The CCS Companies
Credit Control SeNices, Inc.
Credit Collection SeNices
CCS Commercial LLC
CCS Canada Ltd.
Chairman Kevin J. Martin
Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
RE: CG Docket No. 02-278
My name is Kathleen Brown. I am the Regional Vice President of Business
Development for Credit Collection Services, located in Newton, Massachusetts. We do
not perform telemarketing services, rather CCS is a third party debt collection
organization. The purpose of this correspondence is twofold. First, I wish to make you
aware my business has been substantially harmed as a result of the Federal
Communications Commission's (FCC) 2003 regulatory decision to expand the definition
ofautodialer beyond its 'statutory definition.Second~f llrgefyou as thechair'ofthe FCC to
ask the commissiont6 grant ACA fnteni.ational's(A~A)ieql1est'-[or:regulatory
clarification in favor of the industry as well as all consumers who lawfully pay for goods
and services they have purchased.
As you know, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) was passed in 1991. This
law was designed to protect consumers from invasive calls from telemarketers. One of
the provisions of the TCPA prohibits the use of an autodialer to communicate with a
consumer by way of their cell phone.] Between 1991 and 2003, the FCC consistently
ruled that this autodialer prohibition did not apply to calls made using an autodialer ifthe
sole purpose of the calls was to recover payments for goods and services already
But in July 2003, the FCC took a dramatic shift in its position about the applicability of
the autodialer prohibition to the credit and collection industry when it expanded the
statutory definition of autodialer to include predictive dialers. By expanding the
definition of autodialer and failing to restate the commission's prior rulings that calls
made by creditors and debt collectors to consumers' about their past due payment
obligations by way of their cell phones were not subject to the autodialer prohibition, the
FCC inadvertently brought calls my company makes for the sole purpose of recovering
past due payment obligations from consumers within the scope of the regulation.
This shift in policy has caused my business substantial l:iann:' Our' clients are "running
scared" and some are adopting an ultra-conservative view paiiit'that cellular pl'tbnes must
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1 The TePA defines an autodialer as, "equipment which has the capacity to store or produce telephone nu. mbers to be called, using an
random or sequential number generator; and to dial such numbers." fk· <\;C:~,..~«<:r(~'(;'d
List ABCDE -"_~_.-o.
be scrubbed from their dialing/referral lists. The to-date impact ofthis is unguantifiable,
however, there is no doubt it is in well into the six figure range on an annual basis.
I am aware ACA has filed a Petition for an Expedited Ruling regarding this issue in
proceeding CG Docket No. 02-278 with the commission. I fully support ACA's petition
and the relief requested, including ACA's statement of the harm to business and the
federal and state governments as a result ofthe FCC's rule. I believe that the FCC should
not uphold an unsupportable and damaging regulatory interpretation that will encourage
the evasion and non-payment of debts by prohibiting the use of autodialers to telephone
consumers by way oftheir cell phones. To do so is contrary to the intent of Congress and
all prior rulings ofthe FCC between 1991 and 2003 concerning this issue.
In the specific context of recovering payments, I use predictive dialers to complete
transactions for which consumers have obtained a benefit, without payment. They are
not used - nor do they have the capacity to be used - to randomly solicit customers to
make purchases or advertise goods. In fact, autodialer technology is the most accurate
way for me to call consumers about their past due payment obligations. Autodialers
increase the accuracy of dialed numbers and also restrict calls to the permitted calling
times in the time zone ofthe consumer.
If the FCC's 2003 regulatory definition of autodialer is allowed to stand, creditors and
their debt collection agents face the devastating loss of an essential technological tool,
namely the autodialer. It cannot be overstated that autodialer technology is directly or
indirectly responsible for returning tens of billions of dollars each year to the U.S.
economy. Banning their use in this limited context would not only be inconsistent with
Congress' intent, but it would be an unconscionable interference with creditors' ability to
request payment from its own customers. Additionally, one of the largest creditors in the
United States is the federal government. If the FCC does not clarify that the autodialer
prohibition does not apply to those making calls to collect past due payment obligations,
the federal government will be forced to discontinue its use of autodialers to recover past
due payment obligations from tax payers. Such a result would be devastating to the
federal government, including the FCC, Department of the Treasury, Department of
Education and the Internal Revenue Service and cause all citizens who lawfully pay their
federal taxes and other payments owed to the federal government to suffer substantial
The TCPA was enacted to protect consumers from unsolicited advertisements and
telemarketing calls. The TCPA's prohibition against the use of autodialers to contact
consumers by way of their cell phones was specifically intended to protect consumers
from incurring charges as a result of unwarranted telemarketing calls being made to their
wireless phones about products or services to be purchased in the future. There was
never any intention on the part of Congress to prohibit creditors and their retained
collection agencies from being able to contact consumers on their wireless phones about
a past due payment obligationfor goods and services already purchased and received
Moreover, wireless phone usage has grown exponentially since 1991 when the TCPA
was enacted. Today, more than one out of every five Americans under the age of 35 does
not have a landline phone and instead uses a wireless phone as their exclusive means of
telephonic communication. If allowed to stand, the long-term consequences ofthe FCC's
decision are foreboding at best.
As it stands today, my business, along with thousands of others, face serious financial
hardship due to the FCC's regulatory reversal. The FCC's rule needlessly subjects us to
federal enforcement and private litigation, even though Congress never intended such an
For these reasons, the FCC should promptly clarify that autodialer calls to wireless
numbers solely to recover payment obligations are not covered by the TCPA regulations
for the reasons expressed by ACA.
Kathleen O. Brown
Regional Vice President, Business Development
cc: ACA International
Two Wells Avenue
Newton, MA 02459
l':"!ANCHESTER NH 031
02 f"'IAY 2()06 Pi'-l 1- L
MAY - 82006
Federal Communications Commissi rFCC - f\iMILROOM
Chairman Kevin J. Martin
Washington, DC 20554