With Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) claims on the rise, now is a good time to review what’s going on and how it affects businesses and organizations.
The TCPA was enacted to protect consumers from aggressive telemarketers. TCPA provides a variety of restrictions. Most recent claims relate to promotional marketing calls using automatic telephone dialing systems (ATDS also called “robocalls”), artificial or prerecorded voices and calls to cell phones.
Two primary factors complicate TCPA compliance:
- Broad interpretations of the law’s provisions by the courts and the FCC, and
- Technologies that have been developed since the law was enacted in 1991.
For example, the FCC interprets a “call” to include the sending of a text message. However text messaging is not specifically mentioned in the TCPA.
Important TCPA Facts
- TCPA does not prohibit message notification services, ATDS, artificial or prerecorded voices, or automated calls and text messaging to residential and cell phones.
- FCC regulations exempt calls that don’t include unsolicited advertising and calls that are made to those with whom the caller has an established business relationship.
- TCPA requires that prior written consent be received for ATDS and artificial or prerecorded voice telemarketing or advertising calls to cellular and residential phones
- TCPA requires that ATDS and artificial or prerecorded voice telemarketing or advertising calls have opt-out mechanisms.
Best Practices DOs and DON’Ts
- DO feel free to use a message notification service. It’s an efficient, inexpensive and highly-effective way to keep groups of all sizes informed.
- DO get written consent from those on your contact list allowing you to send messages using ATDS, artificial or prerecorded voice technologies, and text messages to their land lines and their cellular phones.
- DO use a notification service that provides recipients with opt-in and opt-out mechanisms.
- DO make sure that contracts for marketing campaigns with outside vendors expressly exempt you from potential TCPA violations.
- DON’T send promotional notifications, advertisements or any unsolicited messages that can be construed as advertising to anyone without first securing their written consent.
And lastly, don’t be tempted to over react to concerns about TCPA compliance. Provisions in the law make message notification services a good fit for businesses and organizations of all sizes. Periodically review your communication policies and practices and make sure your staff understands the dos and don’ts.
Nick Frantz is the National Sales Manager for Property Management Solutions at One Call Now, where he has worked since March 2011. He specializes in Property Management solutions – commercial and residential – assisting in communications between property managers and staff/residents. Nick holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Miami University.