There’s a lot of legal action these days related to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which was created and signed into law in the 1990s in an effort to prevent people from getting calls and other communications that they have to pay for, but don’t want to receive. And TCPA and FCC rules prohibit making auto dialed or prerecorded non-emergency calls to a wireless phone number for which the called party is charged a fee.
Litigation related to the TCPA has exploded in the last few years, and damages can be steep. Under TCPA rules, if a company calls or texts the wrong party because the telephone number has been reassigned without the knowledge of the caller, for example, that can result in damages of $500 to $1,500 per unsolicited call, text, or fax. For example, a pizza chain in 2013 paid more than $16 million in damages to settle a nationwide class action lawsuit alleging it unlawfully advertised its pizzas by sending consumers unwanted SMS text messages. A vehicle maintenance brand recently paid $47 million for similar violations. And a major financial firm and three collections agencies paid $75.5 million restitution for TCPA violations.
The FCC in mid June revisited the TCPA to respond to 215,000 complaints from consumers about unwanted calls. Here are what the commission said are the key takeaways from this latest order.
- Service providers can offer robocall-blocking technologies to consumers and implement market-based solutions that consumers can use to stop unwanted robocalls.
- Consumers have the right to revoke their consent to receive robocalls and robotexts in any reasonable way at any time.
- If a phone number has been reassigned, companies must stop calling the number after one call.
- A consumer whose name is in the contacts list of an acquaintance’s phone does not consent to receive robocalls from third-party applications downloaded by the acquaintance.
- Additional highlights for wireless consumers include:
- Affirming the Law’s Definition of Autodialer – “Autodialer” is defined in the Act as any technology with the capacity to dial random or sequential numbers. This definition ensures that robocallers cannot skirt consumer consent requirements through changes in calling technology design or by calling from a list of numbers.
- Text Messages as Calls – The commission reaffirmed that consumers are entitled to the same consent-based protections for texts as they are for voice calls to wireless numbers.
- Internet-to-Phone (News - Alert) Text Messages – Equipment used to send Internet-to-phone text messages is an autodialer, so the caller must have consumer consent before calling.
- Very Limited and Specific Exemptions for Urgent Circumstances – Free calls or texts to alert consumers to possible fraud on their bank accounts or remind them of important medication refills, among other financial alerts or healthcare messages, are allowed without prior consent, but other types of financial or healthcare calls, such as marketing or debt collection calls, are not allowed under these limited and very specific exemptions. Also, consumers have the right to opt out from these permitted calls and texts at any time.
Here’s a collection of companies that offer solutions to help organizations more efficiently address issues related to TCPA.
3CLogic (News - Alert) offers a complete multichannel suite of cloud contact center solutions for enterprise businesses of any size based on a distributed approach (Virtual Telephony Application Gridor V-TAG), which eliminates the need for legacy server-centric architecture. A pure cloud solution, the company offers the latest contact center features including IVR, ACD, predictive dialing, advanced agent scripting, and business analytics, while allowing for third-party integrations with any CRM, WFM, WFO, or ticketing platform. Offering outbound, inbound, and blended contact center services, 3CLogic provides customers with a TCPA-friendly solution to allow businesses to distinguish between TCPA and non-TCPA projects while seamlessly allowing agents to transfer between both. The feature prohibits any TCPA-enabled campaign from dialing within the dialer (including manual dialing) while still permitting inbound calls to be received regardless of the agent¹s assigned project. The solution also allows for complete reporting and analytics regardless of the TCPA or non-TCPA campaign for future review using its advanced Athena Reporting tool. Offering the ability to enhance first call resolutions, improve sales and marketing initiatives, facilitate disaster recovery efforts, and enhance the overall customer experience, 3CLogic emphasizes its flexibility, outbound features and functionality, blended capabilities, and scalability while providing the highest level of service, security, and reliability.
ClickPoint Software has developed a patent pending process to help both lead buyers and lead sellers follow new TCPA guidelines. The dynamic consent process dynamically generates the consent portion (consent text) of a lead capture form, based on information stored and issued from LeadExec. Not only will this process help you qualify leads it will ensure you remain compliant with the TCPA regulations. The LeadExec Lead Certification Solution ensures that the consumer consent display text and IP of the user filling out a lead form, landing page form, or website form, is active. This certification will qualify your leads and can be printed or delivered to lead buyers, sales teams, and stored for up to 5 years. It has never been easier to ensure your website and lead sources are TCPA compliant. With a simple code inserted on each landing page you can ensure every lead is TCPA compliant.
Connect First SAFE Mode helps your contact center remain compliant. This account type uses a new outbound server architecture that does not have access to Predictive, Preview, or Power Dialing and therefore is able to safely dial cell phone numbers via an Agent Click-To-Dial request. List loading and Campaign Management for this mode are almost identical to our normal preview dialer, but are completely separate from the Predictive Dialer platform making it a safe application. SAFE Mode Features include: Internal Whitelist Management, a Rescrubbing Interval, and Cell Phone Scrubbing. The Whitelist Manager has the ability to store numbers as well as the date the consent is due to expire. An expiration date is not required but if it is used, on the day it expired it will no longer be used for pre-scrubbing. Features include a global whitelist, whitelist tags, manual input, file upload, quick search, and advanced search capabilities. Connect First added the ability to implement Cell Only + Internal DNC Scrubbing and now offers a more powerful integration with Cellular National and State DNC List Scrubbing allowing you to dictate how often you would like the list to be scrubbed.
Telemarketing is an invaluable marketing tool without which many for-profit companies and non-profit organizations would not be able to thrive. Yet the federal and state legislative branches continue to tighten restrictions on the call center industry, increasing the risk organizations could incur hefty fines for non-compliance – some as much as $11,000 per call. InfoCision believes that we, not our clients, are primarily responsible for meeting all state and federal requirements on every calling program. InfoCision provides clients a dedicated team of regulatory compliance experts to give you peace of mind that your campaign is 100-percent compliant with state and federal laws. Our compliance professionals go above and beyond, observing a strict set of industry best practices. InfoCision is dedicated to the concepts of individual privacy and ethical business practices. We comply fully with all applicable laws and regulations, including the FCC's Telephone Consumer Protection Act and the FTC (News - Alert)'s Telemarketing Sales Rule. We have invested millions of dollars in technology and dedicated resources to ensure compliance with all regulations.
Intelligent Mobile Connect from Interactive Intelligence (News - Alert) was developed to help companies comply with their obligations and responsibility under the TCPA.* Intelligent Mobile Connect uses the ACD and PBX functionality of the Interactive Intelligence IP communications software suite, Customer Interaction Center, coupled with the company’s business process automation software, Interaction Process Automation. This patent-pending application does not include an outbound dialer, and does not have the capacity to auto dial. The application’s desktop client presents phone numbers to the agent who can click-to-call each number. The application can be deployed so a single agent clicks on the client to place numerous and continual outbound calls – enough to statistically result in right-party contacts for the number of available agents. CIC also includes skills-based routing, ACD for work groups, call analysis and answering machine detection, and more. (*NOTE: In providing this application to help customers comply with their TCPA obligations, in no event shall Interactive Intelligence be liable or responsible for providing, implementing, configuring, or coding Intelligent Mobile Connect or any other software in a manner that complies with TCPA requirements.)
LeadiD, and the TCPA Compliance with Visual Playback solution, operates in the background of a lead form by generating a unique ID for each consumer lead event and tracking how the consumer interacts with the lead form using a privacy-friendly data-matching module. LeadiD's TCPA Compliance solution provides lead buyers and sellers with confirmation of consumer consent to be auto-dialed, and adapts to corporate standards and guidelines regarding approved text, font size, and other disclosure attributes. Within a single interface, marketing and sales teams can audit, track, and verify TCPA compliance in real time at the lead level, enhancing integrity of first-party data collection and informing purchases of third-party leads. In addition, TCPA Compliance includes Visual Playback, which captures, stores, and can play back the raw data of the original lead event, providing confirmation that all necessary disclaimers were clearly displayed, and that consumers provided necessary prior express consent to be contacted. The player enables users to progress through the timeline of events and capture specific time-stamped actions to prove compliance and disprove violation claims.
Neustar’s Verification for TCPA solution enables companies to determine – with a high degree of confidence – whether or not a number is wireless, and whether it is assigned to the same subscriber who provided consent. When clients submit a consumer’s name and phone number, Neustar instantly identifies whether the phone number is a wireless or wireline one. The Neustar solution creates a score reflecting the likelihood that the name and phone number still go together. If they do, companies that have the consumer’s prior written consent can be more confident they are contacting the right person. Neustar’s Verification for TCPA solution is unique because it employs the company’s phone data repository, according to the company, which says it offers the most accurate, comprehensive, and up-to-date consumer and business data in the industry. This database is updated routinely from more than 250 sources, including the nation’s leading telecommunications service providers. Neustar also offers a list of telephone numbers that were originally identified as wireline and have since been ported over to wireless providers; this is referred to as an intermodal ported telephone number identification service.
SIP Print is a global leader in VoIP/SIP-based call recording for the SMB market that integrates with most IP/PBX systems. Our products, Express, SMB & SME, are globally known and provide the very best in pure VoIP call recording. From 15 to 500 users plus, SIP Print products can be used by any and all companies worldwide to protect and secure the integrity of those companies. Part of that security and integrity is that by integrating SIP Print call recording to any business environment it diminishes the constant barrage of solicitations and unwanted phone calls by marketing companies and other solicitors as described within the TCPA definition. SIP Print also has released new carrier-grade solutions for the ITSP, hosted, SBC, and WebRTC markets. Our recently announced SIP-based call recording solutions for the SBC market, including Metaswitch, have allowed those markets to have an affordable call recording solution to present to their customers. Our new integrated Call Scoring package now offers call centers applications to utilize our call recording while at the same time scoring agent calls for more efficient management control. SIP Print also now offers OEM/white label agreements, allowing those manufactures to integrate SIP Print software into their solutions and provide these solutions as one.
Edited by Dominick Sorrentino