Know Your Options for Meeting TCPA Regulations
Ignoring Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) regulations can be dangerous to your business, but complying with the FCC’s circuitous and sometimes confusing rules is a challenge – particularly when it comes to cell phone restrictions. You might be tempted to take an extremist position and elect not to call consumers’ cell phone numbers at all. However, nearly half of U.S. adults have moved away from landlines completely and now live in cell phone-only homes. Avoiding all cell phone numbers could severely impact your ability to connect with your customers. Fortunately, there are a number of ways that the outbound call industry has adapted to ensure your business stays TCPA compliant while still reaching the contacts you need to reach.
Option #1: Manually Scrubbing Your ListsNeither glamorous nor practical, manual scrubbing is still one of the most common ways call centers remove bad cell phone numbers from their lists. Scrubbing your list requires matching it against the National Do Not Call Registry, your company’s internal Do Not Call list and any applicable state-specific Do Not Call Lists. Don’t forget, there are some states that prohibit all marketing calls to cell phones, so you’ll need to scrub area codes in those states as well. As new national and state laws are implemented and updated, keeping track of what is legal and where it is legal is a big job. This makes manual scrubs time-consuming for staff and expensive for you—especially because they need to be completed at least every 31 days!
Option #2: Purchasing Certified ListsList providers let you avoid the difficult task of assembling your own list—but this convenience usually comes at a very high cost. Purchasing a list might seem the easiest option up-front, but before buying, make sure the list comes from a reliable provider that certifies the list has been properly scrubbed. Buying an uncertified list exposes your business to potentially costly litigation under TCPA regulations because once the list is purchased it becomes your responsibility. You now effectively own that list. Before purchasing a list, it is highly recommended to request written documentation from the vendor to review their policies, consent procedures, and records. It is preferable to purchase lists that use double opt-in (in which a consumer provides consent upfront and again through a confirmation process). Again, it is important that you verify the vendor’s process and recordkeeping because you will be responsible for any violations. Finally, before any contract is signed with a list vendor, your company should review any agreements for warranties and guarantees on the last as well as indemnity clauses should a TCPA claim be made.
After you receive the list, it’s a good idea to verify its legitimacy internally. Even if you pay thousands of dollars for a list, that list might not be high quality and no list will stay fresh for long. To stay compliant with the TCPA, you’ll need to repurchase a new list every month.