Telephone Consumer Protection Act Rules

Telephone Consumer Protection Act Rules

How to avoid Telephone Consumer Protection Act Rules fines or legal action

Doesn’t it seem like the last 22 years have flown by? That’s how long ago the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) was passed, taking effect on December 20, 1992. TCPA changed how companies used telemarketing and how call centers operated, establishing no-call lists, fining those not following its provisions and allowing individuals to file lawsuits and collect damages for receiving unsolicited telemarketing calls and faxes.

Additional rules concerning unwanted auto dialed and “robocalls” were passed and added to TCPA in February 2012, which took effect October 16, 2013. So what changed?

Prior express written consent is now required

As of the date above, prior express written consent became required for all auto dialed and/or pre-recorded calls/texts sent/made to cell phone and pre-recorded calls made to residential land lines for marketing purposes. Electronic or digital signature forms taken via email, website form, text message, telephone keypress or voice recording are accepted as consent. This consent must be unambiguous. In other words, the consumer must sign a “clear and conspicuous disclosure” stating he or she is willing to receive autodial or robocalls on your behalf. There are other stipulations of the disclosure too and very few exceptions apply except calls/texts from the consumer’s cellular carrier, debt collectors, schools, informational notices and healthcare-related calls. It’s on you to prove such consent was provided, signed and exists, and should be kept on file for four years should a dispute occur.

The “established business relationship”  was eliminated

Previously, you could use an established business relationship (like a previous purchase) to avoid getting consumers’ written consent to receive telemarketing calls.  That’s gone out the window. Advertisers will have to get written consent, in a form listed above, even if a relationship between them and the customer exists in the past. The financial implications for failing to comply are steep, ranging from $500 to $1500 PER UNSOLICITED CALL OR MESSAGE.

How the new TCPA rules impact you

They don’t apply to call centers or autodialers with living, breathing CSRs on the other end of the line. They do apply to autodialers that deliver a pre-recorded sales message.

Yes, we use autodialers with pre-recorded messages for customers when requested, but never to sell or market a product or service.

Yes, when they’re used, we follow Telephone Consumer Protection Act Rules provisions to the letter. Call recipients already have an account and “relationship” with the customer. The messages are of the informational variety, for example, thanking the customer and providing a website address for more information.

These new rules will have little impact on our call center customers. That’s why many companies trust us as their outsourced call center. We help ensure compliance with TCPA’s established rules and any that come later, such as these effecting autodialed calls. We take the burden of compliance with these new Telephone Consumer Protection Act Rules off of your shoulders and handle it for you from start to finish.

If your interested in learning more about how outsourcing your call center activities can improve customer satisfaction while simultaneously improving your bottom line, please contact us today!