Explain it! Preventing TCPA Violations
One of the greatest challenges faced by telecom companies, call centers, or anyone using an auto-dialer, is the prevention of TCPA violations. Congress sought to protect consumer privacy by limiting how, when and to whom marketing calls can be made through the 1991 passage of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Call centers face difficulty understanding how different portions of the law affect them. Views of the act's regulations and its impact are frequently debated, and sometimes contentious. Let’s take a broad look at what you can and cannot do to prevent TCPA violations.
TCPA: Automated Dialing Equipment and Pre-Recorded MessagesBefore making a call using a pre-recorded message (robocalling), you must have “prior express written consent” from the consumer. Without that consent, you risk a serious TCPA violation. When the recipient is being charged for the call, you can’t use any automated telephone equipment or pre-recorded messages. The TCPA strictly prohibits any call to an emergency, hospital emergency number, physician’s office or healthcare facility. You must remove those numbers from your calling lists, or you risk hefty fines from the FCC.
TCPA: Do Not Call ListsThe TCPA requires you to maintain and honor requests of customers who ask to be on your Do Not Call List, the National Do Not Call Registry and even some state-specific lists. A request to be added to your call center’s Do Not Call list is valid for up to five years. The National Registry, however, protects a consumer from all telemarketing permanently. However, as telephone numbers move to and from different customers, these Do Not Call registries are constantly in flux. Keeping up with these constant changes can be difficult for small to medium-sized call centers working to prevent TCPA violations.
TCPA: Appropriate Call TimesYou must limit your calls to between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. in the resident’s local time. Otherwise, you risk a TCPA violation for disturbing customers at inappropriate times, While this aspect of the TCPA is fairly straightforward, an increasing number of consumers are keeping their cell phone numbers regardless of what time zone in which they reside. For example, a customer with a number in a California area code may have moved to New York, so a call at 9 pm Pacific will not be appreciated, nor compliant. This adds another layer of complexity to the already complicated process of preventing TCPA violations.
TCPA: Fair and Honest InformationThe TCPA mandates that customers have the right to know the details of who is contacting them and why. Specifically, you must answer the question “Who is this?” before the recipient even asks! The act requires call center representatives to provide their name, the company they represent and all contact information.
TCPA Violations and Emerging TechnologyAlthough Congress passed the TCPA in 1991, it periodically updates the act by adding amendments to protect consumers from developing issues. For example, the act required an update due to the emergence of the use of SMS as customer contact. Numerous class actions and other litigation have clarified some requirements of the act, but many ambiguous regulations remain.
Don’t take any risks with TCPA violations. Vox CNI is a powerful compliance solution that can integrate directly with your dialer to scrub lists in real-time, generates compliance reports, and more. Contact us today about how Voxtelesys can help you get, and stay, in compliance with the TCPA.