How do you know when you're talking with a potential professional TCPA plaintiff: Does the call recipient speak like a lay person? Are they answering/reading from scripts? Are they asking questions completely unrelated to the product or service you're selling? Pro TCPA plaintiffs derive significant amounts of money from suing call centers and businesses. You can teach your sales agents to identify them if you know what to look for.
Does your call recipient sound like a regular Joe?
When call recipients use words and phrases you'd expect to hear only from lawyers i.e. experts in the nuances of TCPA, that's a red flag. When recipients appear to be reciting memorized answers, quoting legal statutes or asking questions that are completely unrelated to the conversation. These are classic signs of "agent baiting" - getting your associates to say things that can cause call prohibition trouble later on. Like lawsuits.
Does the call recipient derive a significant source of income by suing people?
Plaintiffs have been known to coach their clients on getting call center agents to say the wrong thing. They may be routinely recording your calls with or without notice or permission. Your phone solicitation or follow-up may be used as a basis to file a lawsuit against you by the nicest of leads. The good news: most of the time, it's not difficult to know that your call recipient is a pro litigator.
How to determine if someone is baiting you.
I am disputing this debt. What are you going to do about it? Whatever your agent starts to say here could ultimately get the company in trouble and contribute to a lawsuit.
Listen for beeps in the background indicating whether a recipient may be recording your call.
Speaker phones, whispers to third parties, constantly being put on hold - these are signs they're talking to someone else during the call and being coached.
Disclosure interruptions by the call recipient. Another red flag that can lead to a quick lawsuit claiming proper compliant language was not used at the beginning of the call.
Train your agents to get off the phone properly.
By saying things like, "I'm sorry I'm not able to answer your question." You don't have to answer every inquiry a call recipient has - especially ones that are trying to set you up. This is tough for sales agents schooled in the art of going the extra mile for clients. "I'm not allowed to discuss that" is also an acceptable bail.
Professional TCPA plaintiffs are not going to pay you anyway.
Professionals litigants don't ultimately pay for your product or service. They're just trying to find something you said or did wrong in contacting them or following up. Their's no need to solicit these folks, because you're not going to get any benefit from it. A product like Litigator Scrub can help identify these previous TCPA filers. If a number comes up as a match, don't call that person. If you're contracted by a third party to call them, let that party know you're not comfortable calling previous TCPA court filers. If it's a purchased lead, just let it go. It'll do more harm than good to engage. For more details on a particular pro, just Google the number of jurisdictions this person has filed in previously.
As call prohibition defense expert Amy Jonker of the law firm Maurice
Ed Note: This article is based on discussions from the March 23'rd, 2017 Webinar: "How to Beat Professional Plaintiffs." It is not intended to be a complete summary and will contain inaccuracies. Please consult your own attorney before making decisions on Litigator Scrub or any other call prohibition solution.
For more information on protecting yourself from previous TCPA Litigants, please call my personal line at 561-317-3001 or email me here - Bob
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