Though telemarketing is an effective way to reach out to potential and existing customers, the flipside, however, is that the telemarketing industry has become infamous for deceptive and overly aggressive selling tactics, especially during the last few years. In order to prevent the abuse of people’s privacy rights, federal and state laws created Do-Not-Call (DNC) Registry and prescribe numerous guidelines to telemarketers. In this brief blog post, we are going to look at some useful tips to help telemarketers avoid legal pitfalls.
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), on 16 October, 2013, enforced a new set of regulations to prevent automated sales and marketing calls to cellphones, due to which many powerhouses such as Google and Papa John’s had to bear multimillion dollar settlements. Anh violation of TCPA can cost the offender anywhere from $500-1500 per incident. That’s why it is critical for businesses to be aware of the type of phone numbers used in outbound calling and how frequently the team is updating the business telemarketing lists.
Understand The Law
Telemarketers need to stay informed about TCPA rules and regulations to avoid lawsuits and legal setbacks. The Federal Communication Commission website contains all the essential information related to TCPA rules and regulations. Start by reviewing this website so you can understand how these guidelines are applicable to your business. It’s also advisable to seek expert legal consultation to ensure complete compliance.
Obtain Written Consent
In certain cases, telemarketers may not contact a prospect, unless they have a “prior express written consent”. The emphasis needs to be on the word written, as prior to the changes, the standard was limited to “prior express consent”. This implies that the majority of opt-in data in business telemarketing lists cannot be accepted as an evidence of consumer consent. On the other hand, electronic or digital form of signature of the prospects whose names are present in the list are acceptable. In order to obtain the consent, telemarketers may use any communication channel such as email, website form, SMS and voice recording, among others.
Contact Number Categorization
Before starting any telemarketing campaign, check the mobile phone numbers that have already been exhausted and maintain a list of the fixed line numbers ported to wireless. The non-fixed VoIP numbers are to be treated similar to wireless numbers in order to avoid any penalty. This is necessary as some VoIP services such as Skype might forward the call to a cell phone. When in doubt, it is advisable to consult a legal expert before initiating the campaign.
Third Party Data Verification
Telemarketers can hire third party service provider to verify the phone numbers of prospective customers, while segregating mobile and fixed line numbers. This is an ideal solution to eliminate inaccuracies in business telemarketing lists, and creating a database of the prospects who have provided a written consent. The phone numbers with a written consent are valid only if the prospect shared the same number when they gave the written consent; on the flipside, the written consent stands void if the prospect changes the phone number.
Rules and regulations for outbound telemarketing have continued to change, post the introduction of TCPA rules. Telemarketers who fail to honor the guidelines prescribed may end up incurring substantial damages in compensations. In order to ensure that your business is set up for success, do your due diligence in understanding the legal guidelines so that you can manage your business within compliance.