Disclaimer: This blog is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice and does not create or intend to create an attorney-client relationship. This blog post should never be used to replace the advice of your personal attorney.
Abiding by the telemarketing sales rules is vital for businesses and consumers alike. These rules are frequently referred to as Do Not Call Compliance. The aim is to regulate the way telemarketers may contact individuals with telephone numbers. Both on landlines and cell phones in the United States. That includes prerecorded messages or robocalls. Businesses need to know how to stay within the boundaries of the law. It helps them protect the privacy and comfort of their consumers too. Individuals benefit from the possibilities to guard their peace of mind against unsolicited sales calls. The Do Not Call Regulations also dictate the measures one can take when a violation occurs.
What’s DNC Compliance?
The term Do Not Call Compliance describes the code of conduct companies and telemarketers need to adopt to follow the rules set by the Do Not Call Implementation Act of 2003. The most basic tenant of the Act is that individuals don’t get contacted without their permission. If a phone number features in the National Do Not Call Registry, it should not receive telemarketing calls. There are over 200 million numbers in the registry at present. That many numbers clearly outlines the demand for such measures. As time goes by, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act has only set stricter rules. Before, numbers stayed on the DNC list for five years. After the 2007 Do Not Call Improvement Act, they stay there for the foreseeable future. Now, the only way for a number to drop off the list is for the Federal Communications Commission to receive a written request.
However, telemarketers may call numbers on the list, on occasion. If your business plans to use these exceptions, you should read up on them. Failure to do so could lead to a violation of Do Not Call Compliance. These violations come with severe penalties. They may also affect your customers’ confidence in you. There is only one way to protect you and your customers. Strictly follow the rules and regulations. Avoid practices that may come under scrutiny, such as using an autodialer.
What’s The Penalty For Violating The DNC Compliance Act?
Three government bodies look after Do Not Call compliance in the United States. These are the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the attorney general’s office. Upon receiving a complaint about a violation of DNC compliance, they will bring about enforcement. However, they must first prove several things. Only then can they act.
- The number receiving the unwanted telemarketing call has to be on the Do Not Call List for at least 31 days.
- The owner of the number should not have a prior business relationship with the business under investigation.
- The business under investigation never received expressed written permission to contact the owner of the number. The permission obtained by the telemarketer must outline the specific campaign.
A violation of Do Not Call Compliance comes with penalties. The amount of money a business may have to pay ranges from $500 to over $40,000. Each fine is for every unwanted phone call they’ve made to people on the DNC list. It’s not unheard-of for a business to lose its license as well.
When Can Telemarketers Call Numbers On The DNC List?
As stated, there are a few exceptions to the Do Not Call Compliance rules. Telemarketers can gain permission to dial numbers on the Do Not Call registry. According to the TCPA, the FTC and FCC don’t have to take action when such acts occur. The exceptions are the following:
- When the telephone number is on the list for less than 31 days. Telemarketers and companies have to update their call sheets by comparing them to the DNC registry once a month. This period allows for calls to numbers that have recently subscribed to the list.
- When the company has a preexisting business relationship with the specific consumer. Individuals who had a business transaction with a company within the past 18 months may still receive calls from them. To counter this, they need to ask for the removal of their number from the business’s calling list.
- When the owner of the number has requested to receive sales calls. This request must come in written form and relate to a specific product or service.
The Do Not Call Compliance applies to sales calls only. Telemarketers can still reach out to telephone numbers on the DNC list. However, the message they deliver must be purely informative. For example, if a concert promotion company has rescheduled an event, an individual may still hear from them. Whether their phone number has registered at donotcall.gov or not. They can call to inform them about the change. But if the relaying of information turns into a hidden sales pitch, they are breaking the law.
Are There Other Exceptions Of Do Not Call Compliance?
The telemarketing sales rules and Do Not Call Compliance regulate telemarketers. They do not affect the work of entities with non-commercial purposes. Even a telemarketer is in DNC compliance if their messages don’t contain sales pitches. With that in mind, if you have been on the Do Not Call List for longer than 31 days, you may still hear from:
- Political organizations that have your contact information on their list of telephone numbers.
- Non-profit organizations that are asking for charitable donations.
- Surveyors and polling specialists
- Bill collectors
Please note that even these businesses that can make calls to DNC list numbers have to follow some rules. For example, repeated calls don’t enjoy any tolerance. Especially if the receiving party has asked them to seize calling. The caller id should show who’s calling. Furthermore, all calls should take place on workdays (Monday to Friday) during standard business hours (9.00 am to 5.00 pm). Consumers should be vigilant in defending their rights. If they feel unethical callers or robocallers have harassed them, they should file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission.
Unfortunately, the DNC compliance principles don’t guard against criminal activity. If you are a victim of a spam attack, contact the law enforcement officials in your town immediately. The case is the same if you think someone’s calling you with fraudulent intentions.
Do Not Call Compliance And The DNC List
Individuals can register for free on donotcall.gov. This is the best way to enter a telephone number into the Do Not Call Registry. They only have to wait a month to stop receiving unsolicited calls. The situation is a little more complicated for companies and telemarketers.
If your business is planning a telemarketing campaign, you need to register on donotcall.gov too. There isn’t a registration fee, and you can access the numbers from up to five area codes for free. If you call people from more than five area codes, you will have to pay to access the lists for all of them. You can purchase a subscription to the Do Not Call Registry for the entire United States. Alternatively, you can purchase specific state lists or lists for particular areas. It all comes down to cost-effectiveness. You will have to renew your subscription. The subscription should last for as long as you are running your marketing campaigns. You need to compare the numbers on your company-specific outbound call list with the DNC list and remove all matches. Not only that, but the process also has to happen once every 31 days. If you miss doing that, you are breaking Do Not Call Compliance.
If you hire a third-party telemarketing company to make the calls for you, consider your options. Ensure you choose one that takes DNC compliance seriously. If a violation stems from their practices, your company will be liable as an offending party. The FCC can and will issue you with a fine.
What Can Your Company Do to Ensure Do Not Call Compliance
A business needs to dedicate considerable resources to comply with the Do Not Call rules. Running a telemarketing campaign in multiple area codes, or even across state lines can be costly. It takes human-power, computers, and time to compare numbers on your call sheets to those on the registry. If you want to save money, you should explore alternative solutions.
These alternatives come in the form of DNC cleaning services. A cleaner is a piece of automated software that does a whole department’s job. Furthermore, it does that job in less than half the time. Due to automation, errors are very unlikely. Cleaning helps you avoid breaking Do Not Call Compliance by mistake. You could say it’s the best thing you can do to protect your potential consumers from unwanted sales calls. No unwanted sales calls keeps your business safe from an FTC investigation.
Don’t think twice about getting in touch with TCPA Protect to learn more about cleaning. We can offer you the best service available, at reasonable prices. The quality of our cleaner comes guaranteed by thousands of satisfied customers.
A Few Final Thoughts
Compliance with the Do Not Call regulations is a requisite of each successful telemarketing campaign. You shouldn’t take TCPA compliance lightly. At the same time, there isn’t a reason to sweat about it too much either. The rules are straightforward and will help your business in the long run. Don’t hesitate to check the Federal Trade Commission’s website to learn more about Do Not Call Compliance. Or, you can always get in touch with us at TCPA Protect. Our experts look forward to assisting you with any confusion. Call TCPA Protect and take the right steps toward fully-fledged compliance with the Federal Do Not Call Rule.