What Activities Are Allowed by TCPA Standards?

A Clear-cut Guide to Compliance

 

Most articles on the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) only go into what you can’t do. But, in the following, I made a list about what companies can do and the activities allowed by TCPA standards in their contact centers.

For each of the statements below, please refer to your legal team as well. This article is informational only, and not meant to be treated as irrefutable fact. It may be that we interpret the laws differently with regards to congressional intent, so a congressional law expert might be better suited for you to follow up with. However, we will serve the subject to the best of our knowledge and with due process. For each of the more interpretable affirmations, we have referred to past court decisions.

So, What Can You Do and Still Be TCPA Compliant?

  1. Solicitors are allowed to call residences between 8 AM and 9 PM, local time.
  2. Solicitors are allowed to call numbers on their company DNC (do-not-call list) after 5 years.
  3. Solicitors are allowed to make calls if they provide name, entity, a telephone number, and address.
  4. Solicitors may call residences if they do not use an artificial voice or a recorded voice.
  5. Solicitors may call landline phones. Multiple categories of numbers (including most notably cellular phones, i.e. mobile phones) are prohibited to dial using “automated telephone dialing systems” or systems that use a “prerecorded voice”. Other types of numbers that can only be dialed directly by humans include emergency lines, hospital emergency lines, healthcare facilities, physicians, any service with a reverse charge.
  6. Solicitors can perform automated calls only through one line of their business, regardless of how many lines total the business has.
  7. Solicitors can send advertising faxes if they have received express permission (similar to how a newsletter works).

The above rules apply to both US-originating calls as well as international calls, according to the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003.

Some of the provisions in the TCPA require careful examination, however, so we’re going to look at those in detail.

What Is Local Time and How Can My Business Plan for It?

The thing is nobody likes getting calls in the middle of the night or- god forbid -on national holidays. Lots of businesses, you probably know, partner with contact centers outside the US. How would it be if they called you on Thanksgiving?

Well, maybe you’d welcome the chance to escape your second cousin twice removed and his preaching. But still, it’s very rude to dial numbers during off-work hours.

For that, you need a solution that can automatically sort numbers by time zone. Don’t worry, that’s not illegal! It’s a TCPA-compliant solution that benefits both parties, business and consumer.

NobelBiz® partnered with industry experts to develop and patent our LocalTouch® compliance and productivity solution. Simply put, LocalTouch intelligently determines the numbers you’re allowed to call and rotates them to maximize productivity.

Learn more about how local caller ID can increase your conversions, contact rates, and agent satisfaction!

What’s This About Automated Telephone Dialing Systems? Is that Like a Predictive Dialer?

Well… yes and no.

The rule was put in place to address a common and valid concern consumers had – that of dialers that didn’t even bother to establish a human connection. Basically, the spirit behind this provision is, “if you’re going to call me, at least put in the effort and pay real humans to sell me.”

It further goes on to say you’re not allowed to call mobile phones through an ATDS or any solution featuring a pre-recorded voice or robot voice.

This is precisely why a lot of businesses use third-party solutions as an extra layer of protection against accidentally dialing mobile phones. This prevents human error and ads a redundant layer of security.

The NobelBiz® solution for mobile phone filtering is SHIELD®, you can learn more about it here.

The act has been labeled ambiguous by several courts, with differing opinions on the precise definition of an ATDS.

So Wait, Can You Use a Predictive Dialer and Be TCPA Compliant?

Technically yes, if we are to refer to Fleming v. Associated Credit Servs. (September 2018)  and Denova v. Ocwen (September 2019)– in both cases, the rulings would make predictive dialers legal.

In the first case, the court ruling says that a system dialing a predefined list that was not randomly or sequentially generated does not make an ATDS. So essentially, predictive dialers are not ATDS as defined by the TCPA.

In the second case, the ruling says ATDS systems must store numbers using random or sequential number generators or produce numbers using random or sequential number generators. Since predictive dialers are not that, generally, it stands to reason that predictive dialers are not the subject of TCPA provisions.

The rulings are however contradicted by two separate, older rulings (which have been consistently refered to in numberous court cases). However obsolete these cases may be, it is important to vet the specifics of your chosen system with a legal team.

What About the One-Line Rule?

In so far as the TCPA goes, it’s perfectly legal to make autodialed calls to landlines as long as those autodialed calls do not engage two or more lines of a business with more than one line.

So, technically, you can autodial residences if you do it from just one line at a time.


Let’s See How Our Compliance Solutions Can Help Your Business Stay on Top of Things

To learn more about our services at NobelBiz®, schedule an appointment by using the form below. Or simply call 800.975.2844 and ask about our TCPA-compliant solutions.

Found this article useful? Don’t forget to save it if you think you’ll need to refer to it in the future. I know we need an easy-to-read reference for the precise provisions of the TCPA from time to time.

If you happen to be a congressional law expert and have corrections or amendments to our information, please reach out to us in the comments or via email.

 

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