More B2B's are being severely punished over their outbound calling initiatives lately. Here are a few tips to help avoid TCPA prosecution. If I’ve missed anything, just give me a call here - Bob
Do we need to scrub our customer file of cell phones?
Yes. The first question the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will require: “Where are your cell records?” Try to get written cell permissions from your existing customer base as soon as possible, and archive those promises. The written permission exemption trumps all DNC laws and doesn’t expire until they opt out. Defense Attorneys love it if you can record these cell consents also.
Don't rely on your customers and prospects to identify numbers as landline or mobile. And beyond legal requirements, cell owners are much more likely to complain to Government and private right of action entities. And complaints are the smoking gun for Consumer Financial Protection Bureau audits.
This video is for informational purposes. Be sure to consult your own attorney for questions specific to your business.
Do we need to scrub our cold prospect file for cell phones?
Yes. And you'll want to ask yourself if you need to cold call cells at all. For many B2B’s, cells are just unwanted compliance challenges. And if you do call mobile numbers – make sure to do it by hand (and that they're not on any Federal or State list if you're scrubbing DNC's.) If the lead has given you written permission to call, by all means, go ahead and call – but dial that number by hand, or with a certified “click to call” mechanism. By “certified” we mean from one of the top Do Not Call Law Consultants specializing in ATSV vs. Manual Calling Systems. If you’re having trouble finding one, contact me here.
Can you help us scrub our file of cell phones?
Yes. Keep in mind the FCC has been intentionally vague on approved calling methods for cells. Many of our B2B’s, especially those in court, are choosing just to stay away from cells altogether. Try to use a Certified Do Not Call Law Compliance Service Provider when scrubbing cells. These are the guys Judges will be familiar with should you end up in a legal altercation. No definitive cell phone list exists today, so your in-house scrubbing will be questioned as to accuracy. And try to add your wireless identification procedure to your existing outsourced DNC program, to keep all these systems under a single umbrella. Again, a single compliance source is always easier to handle should problems come up - no vendor "blame game".
Do we need to scrub for Do Not Call?
It’s a good idea. Some top TCPA Attorneys require it, especially for B2B clients that have ended up in a lawsuit. Registration is free and can go a long way with the Judge. Keep tabs on how badly this hits your calling list though. If you’re serving small to medium sized businesses, D&B says 25% of those folks have their numbers on a DNC list.
The most potent complaints will come from cell owners having signed up for a DNC list. The second biggest group will be landlines signed up for the Federal or State DNC’s. As a B2B, you're still going to have tons of numbers to call after scrubbing (unlike B2C’s where most numbers are on some DNC list). So the question is: Do you want to go down that slippery slope of not scrubbing for DNC's at all? Heck – these folks have already declared in the light of day they’re not going to buy anything anyway!
Do we need to scrub our current customers for Do Not Call?
You should start asking for written permission to call from your current customer lists. If you’re recording calls, just ask if it’s O.K. to call from time to time with updates and closeouts. These call may be from a live operator, auto-assisted dialing, texts or recorded messaging. Consult your Attorney for exact wording here. You’ll want to make sure it has the best chance of holding up in court. Nothing beats a customer recording, but if you don’t have that, keep records of tip-ins, call-ins, e-signs, CRM notes.
Do we need to scrub prospects for Do Not Call?
When someone calls you or contacts you via your internet site, we recommend solidifying that “permission to callback” immediately. Again, consult your Attorney for proper language – as the FCC has declined to elaborate on “exact wording” here.
Is a Former TCPA Litigator Scrub helpful for B2B’s?
Interestingly yes. We did a small scrub of 13,000 numbers for a B2B client that got 34 hits on the previous TCPA litigator list. This tiny group can change your life. Totals about 90,000 and increases about 12000 per month. Because of the outlandish financial rewards and settlements these folks demand and oftentimes get – we recommend staying away and just not calling em’.
Do I need to Scrub for VoIP Lines?
That’s up to you. Many businesses have converted to large VoIP systems at this point. We’re talking about the small number of consumer VoIP dongles that are plugged into computers, and the consumer pays for individual incoming and outgoing calls. So we’re concerned about a tiny percentage of VoIP numbers here that'll show up as landlines on a DNC scrub. So as a B2B, you may be losing a disproportionate of legitimate VoIP lines you’d like to call.
Is my Dialer Considered an Automatic or Manual Calling System?
The FCC hit us with a paralyzing blow on their June 10’th Declaratory Ruling saying essentially, "If a dialing system has the future capacity to be an ATDS, for our purposes, it is an ATDS today." Virtually all B2B's use some sort of auto-assisted dialing protocall. Many of the top call center providers have gone so far as to completely separate landline and cell calling arrangements for that purpose. Look for an expert to sign off on your particular calling method and configuration. If you’re having trouble finding one, contact me here.
For more information on TCPA Compliance Tips for B2B's, just give me a call on my personal line at 561-317-3001 or contact here.
Note: These comments are for general consumption, and will contain errors and omissions for your particular Do Not Call and TCPA B2B requirements. Do not proceed based on this information alone, as these laws are constantly changing.