Real estate agents depend upon attracting new customers through aggressive community based marketing, a strategy that often includes telemarketing. Overlooked is the importance following the National Do Not Call (DNC) regulations and being compliant. Yes, the regulations can be confusing, but not following them leaves you exposed to potential lawsuits and fines that can derail your business.
Because real estate agents are independent contractors, there is an assumption that DNC rules do not apply. After all, they only apply to big businesses and you are an individual who will go unnoticed by FTC regulators – both assumptions are false.
The following tips provide clarification on how to grow your business while maintaining DNC compliant. They will allow you to put some distance between your business and potential lawsuits from angry contacts.
Types of Potential Clients
First, there are the two types of potential clients who are often targeted by real estate telemarketers. Both contain pitfalls that could put you in jeopardy of violating DNC regulations:
- For Sale By Owner (FSBO). As an agent, you may contact a seller marketing a FSBO property about your client’s potential interest in purchasing the property—even if the seller’s number is on the National DNC Registry. The stipulation is that as a buyer’s representative, you may only discuss your client’s interest in the property. You cannot use your client’s interest as a way to solicit the listing. Doing so puts you in violations of DNC regulations.
- Expired Listings. As an agent, you can call homeowners who originally listed their home with you for up to 18 months after the contract expiration date. Calling during that period is not a violation as long as the homeowner has not requested that you no longer call them.
IMPORTANT: A solicitation by an agent for a listing from a FSBO with a number registered on the DNC Registry is illegal. The fine for violating the National DNC list is up to $40,000. In addition, there could be more fines for violations of individual state laws which carry their own fines.
Tips For DNC Compliance
- Search the DNC registry at least once every 31 days and drop those numbers from your call list. Twelve states have their own DNC list of numbers that you will also need to drop from calling.
- You can call anyone on the DNC list if you have first obtained prior written permission to call.
- You can call customers if you have a prior business relationship with the property owner that ended within the last 18 months.
- You can call FSBOs only if you have a buyer for their property, but not to solicit their listing.
IMPORTANT: Safe harbor exists for agents that inadvertently call someone on the DNC lists if your company has written calling procedures, provides training on DNC regulations, has accessed the national registry within the last three months, and maintains a company-specific list of numbers not to call.
Don’t settle for less than the best when it comes to protecting your business.
Contact Center Compliance is proud to have maintained a 100% track record for over ten years with no fines, no violations, and no lawsuits. If you are confused about federal and state regulations that affect your business, we are here to answer your questions. We’ll find the best compliance solution for your business and marketing efforts.
To learn more about compliance services that are perfect for your business, sign up for a complimentary compliance audit with one of our team members or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 866-DNC-LIST (362-5478).