An autodialer with a prerecorded message (commonly referred to as a “Robocall”) automatically dials a phone number and waits for a live answer. Upon answer, a prerecorded message will play. If the consumer is then prompted to interact with the system by pressing buttons, this is known as Interactive Voice Response. As with the Live Agent Autodialer, there is normally a delay between the consumer answering and the connection to the prerecorded message.
What are the risks?
The Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) and the TCPA both have rules that explicitly ban robocalls and prerecorded messages without prior express written consent. Additionally, the fact that there is no human oversight when using prerecorded messages, it can be very easy to rack up an exorbitant number of violations. The cumulative effect of these violations can be devastating and often results in class actions or substantial civil penalties.
Armando Ybarra v. Dish Network, LLC
In this 2015 decision from the Northern District of Texas, the court made a distinction for prerecorded autodialer messages. In this case, Dish network used a “Cisco dialer” device that played prerecorded messages if met with a “positive voice”: either that of a live consumer or an outgoing voicemail message. The court determined that these prerecorded messages only constituted TCPA violations in the instances where the messages actually played.