TCPA Compliance

TCPA Compliance

Five TCPA Compliance Tips

While direct marketers have enjoyed direct access to potential new customers with mobile phone numbers, many consumers don\’t appreciate it. In 2013, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, more commonly known as the TCPA, began enforcing new regulation to prevent automated sales and marketing calls to mobile phones.  Under the rules, TCPA violations can now cost the telemarketing company $500-$1,500 per incident. Here are five important TCPA compliance tips to keep out of the legal doghouse:

1.) Stay Informed 

The best way to avoid becoming a lawsuit target is to stay informed of TCPA rules and regulations. The Federal Communications Commission\’s website is a trusted resource. As an organization, decide on a consistent set of guidelines to follow, and make sure everyone, especially call center employees, are educated on the applicable rules. It\’s also a good idea to seek legal consultation that specializes in telecommunications regulations and FCC laws to ensure compliance.

2.) Written consent

Under the regulation, consumer mobile numbers may no longer receive telephone calls that present an advertisement, or constitute telemarketing, use an automated dialer or an artificial or prerecorded voice (robocall) without a \”prior express written consent.\” The key word is \”written.\” Before the changes, the standard was just \”prior express consent.\” Basically, all that opt-in data floating around won\’t be acceptable anymore as evidence of consumer consent.

An electronic or digital form of signature is acceptable. Consent obtained in compliance with the E-sign Act falls under the new rules.  This includes permission obtained via email, website form, text message, telephone-key press or voice recording.

3.) Clean Lists

Going forward, it\’s best to scrub lists every 15 days to ensure protection by the FCC\’s 2004 amendment, which gives safe harbor to accidental phone calls to numbers recently ported from landline to mobile.  If an telemarketing company unintentionally calls a mobile number without consent, it is safeguarded against prosecution if there is proof that the call list had been scrubbed within the previous 15 days.

4.) Buy third-party data

Hire a third-party service provider that can verify consumer phone numbers, as well as differentiate between cellphones and landlines. This type of verification service can provide more in-depth information on numbers to help you avoid possible errors or missed opportunities.

When it comes to phone numbers with written consent, it\’s even more important to verify that a person still has the same number.  Written consent is only valid with the same name and number pairing at the time of consent.  The consent is void if a person, who had previously given written consent, changes his or her number.

5.) Don’t risk it!

When in doubt, it\’s best to verify all call lists with any wireless numbers that do not have written consent. Marketers need to scrub against a list of cellphone numbers that have already been blocked, as well as a list of landlines that have recently been ported to wireless. It\’s also best practice to treat non-fixed VoIP numbers like wireless numbers, just to be on the safe side. After all, some VoIP services, such as Google Voice and Skype, may forward calls on to a cellphone.

Unfortunately, unintentional mistakes that break regulation and put companies at risk for litigation are common. So it\’s important to beware of savvy consumers seeking clever ways to catch those accidental mistakes.   Marketers also need to avoid aggressive lawyers actively searching for consumers who might be eligible for a lawsuit.

It\’s clear that mobile is changing the way we will move forward with outbound telemarketing campaigns.   However, it\’s really only a matter of adding a few new safeguards when starting each campaign. As long as your team does its due diligence and avoids risky activity, evading potential costly lawsuits should be no problem.

If you are ready to hire a new telemarketing company, contact Worldwide Call Centers today at 719.368.8393.   WCC Consultants will discuss your situation and explore the outsourcing options available from the US and Canada to Eastern Europe, Asia or Latin America.