Call Centers everywhere are trying to keep up with the Do Not Call and TCPA Laws. And yet we keep hearing about more fines, more precedent setting class actions, more CFPB record setting audits for financial institutions, and now debt collectors. How often does a phone jockey need to go over this stuff anyway? Here are some hints you may have chinks in the armor that could come back to haunt you - and what to do about it.
Call Center Biggest TCPA DNC Mistakes - click video
This video is for informational purposes. Be sure to consult your own attorney for questions specific to your business.
Here are 10 indications your Company Do Not Call & TCPA Compliance Initiatives might need a refresh:
1. The complaint file at your call center has been lost.
You knew it wasn’t the easiest thing to find anyway. Those pesky consumer complaints. Out of sight, out of mind, right? Consumer complaints getting stuck at the call center level—and never making it to the representative company itself for proper resolution is the biggest cause of consumer One-Flew-Over-The-Coo-Coo’s-nest-like behavior. And drives many a lawsuit.
2. Associates are loving the new faster Automatic Dialing Telephone System—they can get so much more done!
Oooops—if you’ve gone from hand dialing to an automatic telephone dialing system or any auto-assisted dialing or voice messaging for that matter, completely different compliance rules apply. Time to check into Compliance Rehab before the Government escorts you there. (Their DNC boot camp is a lot more expensive than ours).
3. Your call center associates refuse to apologize or rectify situations.
A consumer who received a robocall when they never gave the O.K.; a “debtor” claiming over and over they are not the one that owes the debt; an elderly lady pleading to please not be called anymore. Get a life lady. Too bad if you can’t take a joke. But… the joke may be on you. A heartfelt apology can defuse many an irate caller. (See our Blog: "TCPA Lawyer: 90% of Suits Preventable by Simple Apology" by Sergi Lemberg, the most active TCPA Consumer Attorney with 508 filings last year.)
4. Your established business relationship lead list has no purchase dates.
Existing Business Relationships (EBR's) are still a great way to go, but also the most dangerous. Product or service order dates need to be archived, dated and stored, available in the timeframe and format the FTC, FCC, State AG or individuals want them. Otherwise you’re kidding yourself about your compliance initiatives. After all, you only have so long to call existing clients. Try to convert your EBR's into Consent to Calls - because consents don't expire, and are the biggest exception to the DNC rules. (See our video: "The Difference Between Existing Business Relationships and Consent to Call")
5. You are soliciting Business Executive Cell Phones.
Calling lists from previously unavailable Linked-in, Twitter, Facebook, and other social sources are playing havoc with young, energetic B2B software and tech salesmen. Execs answering these calls are getting tired of it. They’re patient, but they’ll complain more now that the Oct. 16, 2013 cell update has had time to settle in. Predatory attorneys are aware of this also. (See our Blog: "Why B2B's Must Scrub Cells Now.")
6. Your State Attorneys General called wondering why you're calling consumer cells.
States are becoming more active in their copycat or "little" TCPA laws and enforcements. You must build these changing cell and other call prohibition algorythms into your scrubbing procedures. You must also properly date and archive them. As you know, states trump federal when it comes to compliance.
7. You’ve just hired a new IT Officer.
The old one kept all the DNC Policies and Scrubbing Procedures locked away, safely handled and off to the side. A nice false sense of security for the boss. But now what? Time to start over before something bad happens. Then it'll be too late.
8. The Texas AG is calling about cell phone solicitations, even though you are dialing by hand, and checked against DNC.
Yup - Texas is one of the five states that doesn't allow cell calls, even by hand. Although you’ve been working hard to follow the new cell written permission Federal calling guidelines—Texas and four other states snuck through another cell law while you weren’t looking. Turns out the Texas AG says you can’t call ANY cells in their state at all - and four other states have copied them. They are Arizona, Louisiana, New Jersey and Wyoming.
9. Our Lead Vendor is handling the Do-Not-Call (I think).
The law says you and your company are responsible for vendor oversight on Do-Not-Call Law Compliance Policies, Procedures and Enforcements. You can’t just hand the chores off—and that’s the end of it. Or with the wrong vendors, it could be the end of you! (See our Blog: "Vendor Oversight - Top TCPA & Do Not Call Compliance Component")
10. Permission Based Calls not checked for Reassigned Numbers needing Right Party Verification.
Believe it or not, up to twenty-five percent of wireless phone owners living in densely populated areas change their numbers each year. Courts say you’re responsible for making sure you’re calling the “assigned party” to that number “at the time of the call.” The older your data, the bigger the chance you have of messing up. The industry term is Right Party Verification. (See our Blog: "Call Centers: Watch out for Reassigned Numbers needing Right Party Verification. Courts say you're responsible.")
Stay alert. Don't kick back. Every time you think your call center, fulfillment house, list company or marketing partner has got the Do Not Call, TCPA and related laws down - that in itself is a red flag. "But Bob, if I follow all these laws I'll go out of business!" - No, if you don't follow them, somebody may, might, or probably will, put you out of business! -
Have something to add? Did we forget anything? - Please feel free to give us your comments!