Every TCPA lawyer ends their presentation with the same slide, “Scrub, scrub, scrub cell phones”. No matter if you make wireless mobile calls or not. And if you do call cells, whether auto-assisted dialer, capacity to “store random and sequential numbers”, by hand – you still need to identify, archive and store your cell phone records.
When the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau gets around to auditing your outbound calling initiatives, and they probably will if you’re in the debt collection, financial services or related industries, they’ll want those cell phone records. They’ll want to know if your automatic telephone dialing system has been “certified” by any kind of third party DNC Compliance Expert.
Accurate cell records are not that easy to come by. There is no centralized list, as there is on the Do-Not-Call Registry. Every time the government threatens to publish a centralized master cell phone list, the public panics. The best way to scrub? As part of your overall DNC Compliance solutions under a single compliance umbrella with a DNC compliance specialist company.
If you’re doing this in house, and a problem occurs, it’s going to be “you against them” – the “you” being the call center, telemarketer, third party vendor or fulfillment house that nobody likes, nobody believes – and nobody cares about. Your lawyer will be the first to suggest the use of an expert “compliance” company to scrub and archive cells, as opposed to an expert “data” company. They know compliance is a legal problem, not a data expert problem.
No doubt your IT expert can handle the technical aspects of scrubbing cell data, but the data accuracy and currency depends on the data sources. Does your Company have a full understanding and documentation of the procedures and data archives in case your IT expert is no longer available? In our experience, when the IT folks find out how difficult, time consuming, stressful and meticulous it is to retrieve all these records in the timeframe and format legal experts can demand, they wish they’d hired a compliance expert service provider to handle it as part of a single compliance umbrella.
Yes – states want to get in on the action. It’s all about money. They’ve turned up the heat on passing smaller versions of the TCPA to please their voting constituents and to get some extra cash. And in most cases state law overrides federal law in the DNC arena.
Cell phones on DNC lists are particularly problematic for Business-to-Business callers who traditionally haven’t registered for the Do-Not-Call List, haven’t followed any scrubbing procedures, haven’t been prosecuted for years by government and private entities, and are becoming a big problem more recently. (October 2013 TCPA cell update requiring express written consent when using any kind of auto-assisted dialing equipment changed all that). And B2B calls are made most of the time with auto assisted dialing.
The cell owner has been hopelessly over educated and unrealistically trained to expect zero calls from any company ever on their cell. It’s their personal window to the world, and they don’t want it violated. And the CFPB doesn’t really check up on these complaints. The cell owner is considered generally always right. And you must defend against a cell owner lawsuit as you would any other.
The days of “please excuse the call”, “I heard I get first bite of the apple for free” and “just hanging up” are over.
At the end of the day, when it comes to scrubbing and archiving cell phone records, your call center’s word will always be questioned by government entities like the CFPB, FTC, FCC and private plaintiffs. The laws are constantly changing, and scrubbing procedures are regularly being upgraded to include the latest Federal, State and company specific cell compliance procedures. Think about outsourcing this most critical task to the compliance experts. It won’t cost a lot, and will help free up your data, sales and marketing experts to do what they do best – help get more customers.