Marketing to consumers is something that On Point Global Miami has always done and done well. The reason why is because our company and our leaders are always staying up to date on the latest regulations.
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) is one of the most important laws that you need to know in and out in order to effectively – and legally – market to your audience.
Hello, I’m Brent Levison of On Point Global. Today I’m going to be talking about the TCPA and how our team complies with the regulation at scale.
What is the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)?
We’ve all gotten calls from telemarketers before. And while the script may vary from time to time, what often doesn’t change is customer interest:
Customers who are interested in hearing about offers will listen, and those who are not interested will not listen.
Unfortunately, a lot of marketing companies in the past were not so keen to take cues from consumers, and they continued to make unsolicited calls. Years later, in 1991, the Federal Communications Commission established the TCPA as a way to protect consumers from these unwanted communications.
The TCPA restricts the ability of telemarketing companies to make calls or robocalls and send messages that are not specifically consented to by consumers.
If you want to send any such messages to your audience, you need to follow the guidelines established by this act.
Throughout the last 30 years, this act has undergone a number of major changes. Some of the most notable updates include the following:
- In 2003, the FCC worked together with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to create a Do-Not-Call Registry. This registry was and still is national in scope, applying to calls that are made between states and within states. The FTC is still responsible for the management of this list.
- In 2012, the Federal Communications Commission implemented additional rules for telemarketers to follow, including the need to get “prior express written consent” from consumers before autodialing them, regardless of whether they had already communicated with those customers in the past. The 2012 update also mandated that telemarketing companies give users the chance to essentially remove themselves from the marketing list during every call they receive. This was an effective way for people to start controlling who could and could not call them about offers.
TCPA Compliance Tips From Brent Levison of On Point Global
The TCPA is a strong regulation, and as marketing means and approaches continue to evolve so too will federal protections provided by the FTC and FCC.
As marketers, the TCPA holds us to a high standard. We can’t be harassing to consumers. In fact, we never want to be.
At On Point Global Miami, we want to be guests, not pests.
That’s how you get into the proverbial door and match your audience with the products and services that they want and need.
Also, just like with every other business practice, the best way to optimize is to listen to your customers. So if someone says they don’t want calls, acknowledge their request and comply. It’s the law.
Keep in mind, customers don’t need to write out their consent revocation. The FTC and FCC will accept a spoken request, and you will need to abide by it to be legally compliant.
Another important tip is to follow the federal government’s example. Not only should you have your own do-not-call list (which is a requirement of the TCPA), you should also maintain it and verify that the information you have is accurate. After all, TCPA laws are still in place even if you end up dialing or autodialing a wrong number. You want to make sure that you are always only marketing to consumers who have provided their consent.
Finally, possibly the most important piece of advice is to know when you need legal help. Just as the TCPA has evolved over the last 30 years, it will continue to change and have new provisions added. An effective way to stay informed about these updates and how your business will need to adjust with each change is to seek counsel regularly.
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, it’s important to have another set of eyes (or more) looking at the same details that you are from a different perspective. It can mean all the difference in an industry where you need to be compliant in order to succeed.
TCPA Litigation Today
In the years since the establishment of the TCPA, there has been no shortage of related lawsuits. As I mentioned before, while many telemarketing companies are taking the necessary steps to be compliant in their business practices, others are not.
Some common examples of TCPA cases include companies marketing to consumers immediately after they receive a phone number but without getting prior express written consent, as well as marketers who continue to robocall consumers even after they have requested to be removed from their calling list.
It’s because of these occurrences that TCPA laws continue to receive updates and additional specificity so that consumers can receive upgraded protections just as marketing models continue to evolve each year.
Today, cases related to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act have some of the highest numbers of filings in the federal court system.
Simply put, those businesses that are trying to get around TCPA compliance requirements are facing penalties. And when it comes to statutory damages, these have been set by federal law as follows:
- $500 for each penalty
- Up to $1,500 for each willing violation
The main difference here is that telemarketers who willingly and relentlessly robocall consumers – to the tune of countless times per day or week – will receive more severe penalties.