Whether you opt for premise based calling technology, still used by the majority of calling operations, new cloud based call technology, or a “hybrid” of both, compliance with the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) and TCPA is still the number one concern today. Fines are just too high and risks too great not to do things right in this area.
Has the hosted dialer company had direct conversations with regulatory agencies like the FCC, ensuring that they are comfortable with dialing procedures, the solutions offered when calling consumers or other businesses, and that they didn’t see any red flags. Get these current compliance proceedings in writing. Don’t rely on, “We’re good. Don’t worry about DNC. We’ve got it handled. Look how big we are. Everybody uses us. We have a huge compliance page on our site.” The FTC won’t care.
Traditionally, dialer companies haven’t cared much about compliance, so it’s a been a long hard transition for them. A process of company-wide initiatives on making sure DNC and TCPA is front and center is highly prudent today. Everyone in the organization must understand what needs to be done and implementing proper procedures across the organization.
There’s a big misconception in the industry right now that business-to-business calls are NOT subject to the TCPA. But auto-assisted cell calls actually do apply to B2B calling. So make sure your dialer provider takes into account how these new cell rules will impact your campaigns. And of course, Cells are also subject to the Do Not Call Laws, so you may want to register for the National List, and consider state cell laws as well.
As much as 20% of cell phone owners can change numbers in highly populated areas during any given year. Courts have determined the caller is responsible for these “reassigned numbers” and having them right party verified. The older your data, the more this will be an issue. Compliance providers can provide a “percentage chance” that it’s still the party that gave express written consent to call. Since you are responsible for this, not your hosted dialer provider, so make sure it’s handled!
States have become more active in creating and acting on consumer phone legislations recently, especially concerning cell phones. State “mini TCPA” rules generally trump Federal DNC restrictions, and have been aggressively prosecuted. Make sure your provider includes these updated algorithms, as state regulations seem to be an area that’s often overlooked on the latest DNC & TCPA scrubbing procedures.
One of our hosted dialer providers was recording calls for a client, and their system purged itself automatically every six months! Needless to say, those records would have been valuable in court above and beyond CRM call archiving. You must perform your own checks, enforcements and auditing of dialer company daily procedures. This may not be fun, but those records are your lifeline of defense against frivolous suits and consumer litigants. “Your defense is only as good as your data” is so true in the litigious Do Not Call arena.
Bringing in a third party compliance provider to check and certify calling data, without slowing down calling procedures, is always a good idea and recommended by many dialer companies. This is all they do as they are the experts. And you can set up these third party compliance procedures to work via API procedures operating totally in the background. Compliance companies, like the ones we represent at Do Not Call Protection, also advise on what registrations you’ll need. And as changes come about, like the new mobile wireless restrictions of 2013 - or state established “mini TCPA” laws and prosecutions, they’ll also incorporate these algorithms into their scrubbing procedures.