Q. I have to get hundreds of consumer complaints to get investigated by the state or federal authorities?
A. In FTC's report they indicated that a number of cases they investigated were triggered by just a single complaint.
Q. Does this Do Not Call stuff apply to me?
A. Do you make outbound telephone calls offering goods or services for sale? Then yes, Do Not Call applies to you. There are state and federal obligations that you must follow - but there are exemptions as well that may work to your advantage.
Q. I thought small companies were exempt from the DNC list, right?
A. Not at all - the only "exemption" here has to do with the national DNC registry, and whether your company calls into 5 or fewer area codes. If so, then you don't have to pay anything to get the national DNC registry information you need - BUT you're still covered by the rules at both the state and federal levels.
Q.How many numbers are on the Do Not Call list?
A. As of February 15, 2017, there were 226,986,860 numbers on the National Registry. For more information see the FTC report at https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/documents/reports/national-do-not-call-registry-data-book-fiscal-year-2016/dnc_data_book_fy_2016_post.pdf
Q.What is the TCPA?
A. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) was the first major federal legislation to regulate the telemarketing industry. Under Federal Communication Commission (FCC) jurisdiction, these laws were enacted for the purpose of striking a balance between protecting the rights of consumers and to allow legitimate business to use telemarketing effectively. The TCPA requires telemarketers to formalize existing or create new policies to comply with regulations covering: Proper Identification Calling Hours Restrictions and company specific Do-Not-Call (DNC) lists. The DNC component of the TCPA was the catalyst for many state governments to create statewide DNC lists and impose significant fines for violations. The law was revised in 2003 to coordinate itself with the Federal Trade Commissions (FTC) Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR). The revisions also made the national DNC list cover FCC regulated businesses
Q.What is the TSR?
A. The Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) enacted in 1995. Under Federal Trade Commission (FTC) jurisdiction, this law was enacted for the purpose of combating telephone fraud. In an effort to keep pace with developing technologies, the law was expanded in 2003 to include oversight of a national Do-Not-Call (DNC) list, Predictive Dialing, Caller ID, Billing Information, Payment Disclosure, Up-sells, and associated Record Keeping.
Q.How can I find regulations governing telemarketing?
A. For federal regulations you can go to the national do not call website at www.donotcall.gov. The Statutes section right here on DNC.com has an extensive collection of telemarketing statutes from all 50 states. To go to the source for state regulation information, it is most helpful to begin with a state's Attorney General website. A state's Public Utilities Commission or Public Service Commission websites are the next logical choices. State telemarketing laws are part of the state code and are generally found on the state legislature's website.
Q.How many types of DNC lists are there?
A. State Lists — 12 states have DNC lists. Federal List — the National DNC registry became effective 10/1/03. DMA List — The Direct Marketing Association has maintained a DNC list since 1985. Internal List — Under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) each company engaged in telemarketing must maintain a list of numbers for persons who explicitly ask a company not to call them. This list is commonly referred to as an internal DNC list or in-house DNC list.
Q.What are the requirements for internal DNC lists?
A. Internal DNC list requests must be fulfilled within 30 days and must remain a do not call number within the company indefinitely, or until the party chooses to opt back in. Some states have no limit on how long you must honor an opt-out. (Note that the FCC specifically indicates a five-year retention period for internal DNC requests, while FTC is silent on this issue). It's an abusive act to deny or interfere in any way, directly or indirectly, with a person's right to be placed on any internal DNC list of persons who do not wish to receive outbound telephone calls.
Q.What constitutes an existing business relationship (EBR)?
A. For interstate telemarketing calls two exemptions exist: 1. If the consumer purchases within the eighteen months immediately preceding the date of a telemarketing call. 2. If the a consumer's inquiry or application regarding a product or service offered is, within the three months immediately preceding the date of a telemarketing call. Some states have shorter exemption periods as low as six months and those should be looked into if you are only dialing within a specific state.
Q.If state regulation varies from federal, which do I follow?
A. It depends on whether you are making an interstate call or intrastate call.
- For interstate calls, it is important to follow the federal rules and the state rules for both the state where you are calling from and the state you are calling into. When the rules differ, you should follow the rule that is most strict.
- For intrastate calls, the state's rules apply as long as the state law is determined to be stronger than federal law. If the state has no law or its law is weaker then the federal law prevails in that state.
Q.Do I have to hire full-time compliance staff to stay abreast of the regulations?
A. Having a centralized resource to maintain your compliance concerns is recommended. A full time compliance staff would be a positive and valuable tool for any company.
Q.What about Business-to-Business (B2B) calls?
A. Businesses to business calls are not covered under the TSR or TCPA.
Q.I only take inbound calls but occasionally call for followup. (Or: I only call internet leads.) Do I need to scrub for any DNC or wireless numbers?
A. The national registry, and most states, allow you to make calls in response to consumer inquiries (the general FTC/FCC rule is that you have 3 months within which to make such calls.) Before making any such calls, be sure to check state by state laws for additional information.
Q.What are the fines for Do Not Call violations?
A. At the federal level, the FTC can levy fines up to $40,000 per violation, and the FCC $16,000. The fines for violation of state DNC lists varies from $100 to $25,000.
Q.Do I need to register as a telemarketer in all 50 states?
A. 32 states and the District of Columbia have registration rules in place. A state by state analysis is required to determine which states, if any, you will need to register in.
Q.My call center is not in the US. Do I need to comply with these rules?
A. Yes - even though your calls originate outside the US, the FTC (and the various states) consider you to be doing business in the US and thus liable for all these rules.
Q.I am a service provider, do I need a SAN?
A. The FTC requires sellers to purchase the national DNC register - other entities providing services to such sellers do not have to do so.
Q.What is a SAN number?
A. "SAN" stands for Subscription Account Number, and if you are a seller that makes (or hires others to make) outbound telephonic sales calls anywhere in the United States, you need to get a SAN right away. After you register with the national DNC registry as a seller, you will obtain a SAN when you pay for area code information as appropriate based upon the geographic scope of your selling campaigns.
Q.How do I obtain a SAN number?
A. Register at http://telemarketing.donotcall.gov
Q.Do I really have to buy the Federal list or is there a way around it?
A. If you are a for-profit seller that directly (or indirectly through vendors) makes outbound calls to sell goods or services to residential telephone numbers, and you do not fall under any applicable exemption (i.e., you are only calling people with whom you have an Established Business Relationship, or you have express written consent to call a person whose number appears on the national registry), then you have to buy the Federal DNC list, do not pass go, no way around it.
Q.Can I use someone else's SAN?
A. If you are a telemarketer making calls on behalf of seller clients, you can step into the shoes of your seller clients and make use of their SANs to make calls on their behalf. (Remember that only sellers are obligated to pay to get a SAN.) Otherwise, there are no circumstances under which you may make use of someone else's SAN.
Q.I forgot my SAN. What do I do?
A. You can always get your SAN information if you remember the Organization ID and Password that you received when you first registered with the national DNC registry as a seller. You can also contact the national registry help desk at rm2-FTChelp@lmbps.com.
Q.Do I have to have all the area codes to use this service?
A. The first thing you need to do is figure out the geographic scope of your telemarketing campaigns - you are only responsible to pay for national registry information based upon the number of area codes within which you make such calls. If you only call into one area code, you only have to access one area code's worth of information from the national registry.
Q. Does the Federal Do Not Call list apply to me or my business?
A. The agencies that enforce the Federal Do Not Call List are the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Each has a definition for telemarketing.
If you or your organization's activities fall under either of the definitions of telemarketing, you are required to comply with the Federal Do Not Call list. If your organization's activities do not fall under either of these definitions you may still be subject to various state laws concerning telemarketing.
Example: It has been more then two years since a consumer who is on the federal DNC list has visited their dentist. If the dentist contacts the consumer to ask them to set an appointment for a cleaning a violation of the Federal Do Not Call provisions has occurred and is subject to a $40,000 Federal fine.
Q. Are you a telemarketer as defined by the Federal Trade Commission's Telemarketing Sales Rule?
A. "Telemarketing" is a plan, program or campaign conducted to induce the purchase of goods or services or to generate charitable contributions, by use of one or more telephones and which involves more than one interstate telephone call. The term does not include the solicitation of sales through the mailing of a qualified catalog.
Q. Are you a telemarketer as defined by the Federal Communications Commission's adoption of the Federal Do Not Call list?
A. The term "telemarketing" means the initiation of a telephone call or message for the purpose of encouraging the purchase or rental of, or investment in, property, goods, or services, which is transmitted to any person.
Q. What is TCPA Verification?
A. The process of determining whether the cell phone owner that gave you permission to call is the same person you’re about to call. The older your “permission to call” date, the greater chances of a new owner.
Q. What is TCPA Verification NOT?
A. It is not “Cell Phone Identification”, nor is it scrubbing against the National or State Do-Not-Call Registry. These need to be done in addition to TCPA Verification.
Q. What businesses does TCPA Verification affect?
A. Any businesses that are calling cell phones with an ATDS (Automated Telephone Dialing System) are affected. This includes nonprofits, political, surveys, collections and telemarketing.
Q. How do I make sure I am not in violation of TCPA?
A. Working with a trusted all in one TCPA compliance partner who will protect your data and return accurate and timely results is your best protection.