Category Archives: Compliance

7 Common TCPA Misconceptions

By Rich Hamilton, Director of Implementation and Team Improvement Leader

Are you confused by the TCPA? This past July, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) clarified the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) through a Declaratory Ruling.  Telemarketers have been scrambling to understand and implement updated policies, procedures, and technologies in order to continue to ensure compliance with the TCPA.  Telemarketing regulations are very complex.  And with this complexity, there is bound to be some confusion.  Here are 7 common TCPA misconceptions that I’ve observed.

#1 – B2B calls do not need to comply with the TCPA

Wrong.  B2B calls are not exempt from all provisions of the TCPA.  There are many aspects of the TCPA that need to be followed with B2B calls.  Here are two areas:

  • Calling Wireless Numbers: Some level of consent is required in order to use an automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS) when calling any wireless telephone number, regardless if the call is B2B.
  • Call Abandonment: Call abandonment rules apply to all types of telemarketing calls, regardless if you are calling consumers or businesses.   Telemarketers are not allowed to abandon more than 3% of live answered calls per campaign per 30-day period.  A call is considered abandoned if a live agent does is not connected within 2 seconds of the person completing their greeting.  If a call is abandoned, it is required that a recorded message play promptly.  This recorded message must include the name and phone number of the seller, state that the call is for telemarketing purposes and not contain any type of solicitation.  The message must also allow the person being called to place their number on the DNC list (See misconception #6).

#2 – Non-sales calls do not need to comply with the TCPA

Wrong.  Regardless of the reason for the call, if you call a wireless number, you must have either Prior Express Consent or Prior Express Written Consent if calling using an automated telephone dialing system (ATDS).   Some companies think that information calls and surveys are exempt from the TCPA.  This is not right when it comes to placing calls to wireless phone numbers.

#3 – Numbers that are ported from wireline to wireless are not considered wireless numbers

Wrong.  Telemarketers must subscribe to iconective to proactively identify numbers that have ported from landline to wireless.  Lucky for the industry, we have a 15 day grace period to identify the ported numbers and update our calling lists.

#4 – If a number is reassigned from one wireless subscriber to another, you can claim “safe harbor”

Wrong.  In the 2015 TCPA Declaratory Ruling, the FCC made it clear that if a wireless number is reassigned, it is the company’s responsibility to identify that and remove the wireless number from its calling list.   A very limited safe harbor was provided which only protects the first call to a re-assigned number, no matter what the outcome of the call is.  Also note that those that receive phone calls from telemarketers have no duty to tell the telemarketer that the phone numbers has been reassigned.  Huh.  Are you getting the feeling that the FCC doesn’t like us?

#5 – If a company uses a 3rd party to make telemarketing calls, the company does not need to worry about TCPA

Wrong.  The FCC made it clear in the Declaratory Ruling that sellers using an outsourced telemarketing company may be vicariously liable under federal common law agency-related principles.  Therefore ultimately it is the responsibility of every organization to monitor and enforce the compliance of companies that call on their behalf.  This can be done in many ways including audits of call detail records, listening to call recordings, and onsite visits.

#6 – A seller or telemarketer can offer the option to press “X” for the next available agent during the abandon call message in order to process DNC requests

Wrong.  Abandon call message must have an automated interactive voice and/or key-press activated opt-out mechanism that enables a DNC request before terminating the call.  This process must automatically add the phone number to the internal DNC list and end the call immediately.  Offering to transfer the person to the next available agent is not allowed.

#7 – TCPA does not apply to text messages

Wrong.  The FCC has stated that a text (or SMS) is considered the same as a phone call under the TCPA.

Is your call center and/or outsourced telemarketing company fully compliant with the TCPA?  Call us today to learn more about our TCPA call center consulting services and how we can help you to reduce your risk and become more TCPA compliant.

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Placing Outsourced Telemarketing Calls to Cell Phones

Making Outsourced Telemarketing Calls to Cell Phones or Wireless NumbersIf you place outbound telemarketing calls to cellular phone numbers, be sure you understand the rules that apply.  Outsourced Telemarketing was significantly impacted in July 2015 when the Federal Communications Commission released a Declaratory Ruling which expanded the definition of an automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS).   In addition, the ruling provided additional clarification surrounding a telemarketer’s responsibility to identify reassigned telephone numbers and remove them for their call lists and clarified that text messages are also telemarketing calls and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act applies equally to text messages and voice calls.   For more information, you can read the full TCPA FCC Declaratory Ruling.

At Quality Contact Solutions, we’ve had significant success with helping our outsourced telemarketing clients successfully contact their existing customers on their cellular phone number(s) using a Non-ATDS Dialer.   In short, a Non-ATDS Dialer (spelled out non-Automated Telephone Dialing System), is by definition a system that cannot place calls automatically.  Our advice to our outsourced telemarketing clients is to use an old Nortel 8×24 telephone system which cannot be modified to place telemarketing calls automatically.  We pop the contact record on the computer screen for the telemarketing agent, the agent dials the telephone (with their fingers) and hangs up the phone after the call is completed.  Then the agent selects a call disposition on the computer screen before the next call record is presented to the outsourced telemarketing agent.

Results from using the QCS suggested Non-ATDS Dialer

We’ve found that contacts per hour drop by about 60%, so if on average, we were hitting 15 contacts per hour using predictive dialing, we have seen a drop to about 6 contacts per hour.   However, we’ve found that the sales conversion rate increases by about 30%, so the net decrease in sales per hour has been about 45% (still a decrease, but with many client programs, it is better to make the contacts in a less productive manner vs not calling these customers at all).

With some client programs, we’ve been able to change the time of day to evening only (best contact period), and we’ve been able to maintain a sales per hour that is only slightly below the previous performance using a predictive dialer environment.

Keep in mind that it is best to work towards gaining prior express written consent to place telemarketing sales calls to your customers, but in the absence of such consent, rest easy that Quality Contact Solutions can help you create a defendable process for placing such calls legally using a Non-ATDS Dialer.

Give us a call and ask us how today.    Call 866.963.2889 and press 1 for sales.

 

QCS Compliance Consulting Pro Recommends the CECP Program

The PACE Customer Engagement Compliance Professional Program helped prepare me for my compliance consulting role.

By Rich Hamilton, Director of Implementation

Customer Engagement Compliance Professional LogoAt the end of September, I had the opportunity to participate in the first official Customer Engagement Compliance Professional (CECP) certification class created by the Professional Association for Customer Engagement (PACE). This certification is important to both me and Quality Contact Solutions. As a company, compliance consulting is an integral part of ensuring our outsourced telemarketing solutions are meeting and exceeding all telemarketing compliance requirements. It is vital as a company that we stay current. I believe this certification definitely accomplished that. Continue reading

QCS Adds CECP Certs to TCPA Compliance Practice

October 13, 2015 (Aurora, NE) Quality Contact Solutions, Inc. announced today that Rich Hamilton, Director of Implementation and Team Improvement Leader, has been certified as a Customer Engagement Compliance Professional (CECP). The CECP certification program is provided by the Professional Association for Customer Engagement (PACE).  Hamilton is the second Quality Contact Solutions team member to earn this professional certification. Continue reading

TCPA Risks in Outsourced Telemarketing

By Angela Garfinkel, President, Quality Contact Solutions

If you missed the PACE TCPA Washington Summit in Washington DC, September 27-29, you missed the opportunity to hear from the best legal minds in the call center and outsourced telemarketing industry.

While the summit was focused on the fallout of the Federal Communications Commissions’ Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) Declaratory Ruling, attendees also learned about other risks that some outsourced telemarketing organizations and clients may not be aware of.

Here is a high level recap of the PACE TCPA Summit: Continue reading