Telephone solicitations are all about marketing products and services that are a form of advertisement. But when you give your consent, or you have a relationship with a business that is not considered a telephone solicitation. Under the telephone consumer protection act, telephone solicitations are prohibited and are governed by some rules which every telemarketer must take into account before they start disturbing individuals.
If there is an established business relationship (EBR) between the caller and the consumer. As long as the consumer did not request to opt-out of the calling list, there should not be a problem. There is said to be EBR if the consumer makes a purchase or make an inquiry regarding a particular product or services. TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act) provides rules and regulations that govern telemarketing calls, text messages, pre-recorded calls, auto-dialed calls, and unsolicited faxes.
TCPA Restrictions On Telephone Solicitations
Not every phone call is regarded as a telephone solicitation. Debt collection calls, for example, are exempt from this. FCC states auto-dialed debt collection calls are not telemarketing requests provided that the message does not contain any telemarketing message. Debt collection requires any consent from the consumer, but there are some exceptional cases where permission still is needed.
TCPA Risks And Recommendations
Do Not Call Registry
The federal communication commission established the do not call database. Any individual or company that doesn’t want to receive telemarketing messages should include their phone number in the Do Not Call registry.
Most companies use third parties to handle their telemarketing activities, and there is nothing wrong with choosing a third party. Still, you have to be careful when selecting third parties because if they break the rules, your business and the third party provider will be prosecuted.
Telemarketing v Informational Messages
Sometimes when there is a claim in the court, some telemarketers get confused with informational and telemarketing messages. When you are in doubt just consider it telemarketing. Seek advice from a good lawyer so that do don’t end up in trouble. Many businesses have lost cases where they misinterpret solicitation messages as informational.
Get Consumers Consent
If you want to save yourself this sort of problem, you should get consumers’ consent first before you start sending messages, and consumer’s consent provides a strong defense against most TCPA practices. When the permission is given, you should clearly state that you will be sending automated calls and messages, you may add some twists telling the consumer that your requests contain valuable info or discounted offers. In most cases, this should be done online before a consumer submits the phone number he has to agree to the terms and conditions. You should provide the option for consumers to opt-out of your calling list as well.
* Do not call after 9 pm.
* Avoid calling Do Not Call Registry.
* You can make a call for emergency purposes.
* Manual requests that do not contain any auto send messages or calls
* Calls made on behalf of a tax-exempt non-profit organization
Requirement Of Pre-Recorded Voice Messages
* At the beginning of a message, any individual or business must reveal their identity.
* At the end of the automated message, you should state your phone number or the phone of the company that is calling, NOT the auto-dialer. This should be a phone number that will be responded to a human.
* You must provide an automated key in your message so that the consumer can opt-out automatically from your list. You should allow individuals to send a do not call request.
TCPA will enable consumers to claim damages and file lawsuits. But before filing a suit, make sure you should know the rules and regulations in your state regarding telemarketing. In some states providing a phone number during a credit application is considered consumers consent while in other states isn’t viewed as consent.
If you have any TCPA issues or have any questions, you should find out the applicability of TCPA in your business from your organization counsel. Violating TCPA rules can get anyone into trouble. One of the best ways to minimize the risk of getting into trouble to get consent from consumers before you send them any telemarketing messages. You should consider having landing pages where the person giving you their contact details will agree to your terms of service before they submit their contact information. In your terms and conditions page, make sure to state all your terms clearly so that you can defend yourself when a suit arises.
Visit either our Gainesville or Ocala, Florida offices, if you have any problem with telemarketing solicitations so that we can resolve any issue that might have.