7 Quick Answers about TCPA Compliance
It is easy to get confused with the new TCPA laws governing how agents contact insurance leads. After all, how would you know if the number you’re about to dial is a cell phone? How do you handle aged leads? What about scrubbed lists? Who holds the customer’s written-consent records and for how long? We need to stay informed and remain students of the industry. I have spent hours working out the details to make sure Hometown Quotes is TCPA complaint, and the good news is I honestly think this new law helps weed out the garbage leads.
Here are 7 Answers to Commonly Asked Questions about TCPA for your quick reference:
1. Quick Summary: TCPA regulations updated existing laws regarding telemarketing phone calls to disallow an automated dialer to call to a cell phone without the consumer’s express, prior consent, which needs to be documented and stored (for up to 5 years). Moreover, the caller is at risk of lawsuit, should they not conform. When in doubt, assume it’s a cell phone. See my list of TCPA rules and regulations.
2. What defines an autodialer? If you’re not sure, neither is the law. It’s meant to be vague so that anything could potentially be considered an autodialer. For example, one agent asked, What if Siri dials the number? According to the text of the law it doesn’t matter. The fact that your cell phone can store and recall numbers makes it a violation to call one cell phone with another cell phone, because it meets the FCC’s definition of an “ATDS.” Your best bet is to be safe and dial by hand.
3. Aged leads are obsolete: We are notifying our Hometown Quotes’ agents that any lead obtained before October 16, 2013, absolutely cannot be dialed by anything other than their fingers! (Unless the list is scrubbed of all cell phone numbers.) Don’t waste your money and be careful who you buy your leads from. You’ll want to make sure to work with a TCPA compliant lead provider.
4. Can agents autodial leads previously in their system? Short answer: No! The new TCPA law eliminates any safe harbor for “established business relationships.”
5. What about scrubbed lists? I wouldn’t suggest scrubbing all leads in your system for TCPA compliance at once. Only scrub leads that you can work in a reasonable timeframe (within 15 days). Many folks today are porting landline phone numbers to their cell phones, so you might not be in compliance in a few weeks or even months if you bulk scrub all your leads at one time. Also, you don’t need to scrub TCPA compliant leads for DNC because they have already provided their consent to be contacted; however, you can use a scrubbing service for your CRM to comply with the new regulations, if you’d like.
6. If it’s a cell phone, can you finger dial? Yes. The TCPA law only applies to automated dialers (although this does not excuse DNC rules.) Keep in mind, if it’s TCPA compliant, it’s DNC compliant, but not the other way around!
7. Does TCPA only concern calling lists and not internet leads? If you are calling someone’s cell phone number, unless they specifically opted-in to being called using an automated dialing solution via express, written consent, you’re not in compliance with the law and liable for a fine as well as a right to private action, which means the person can sue you directly without proving damages and is entitled to $500.
Folks, let’s not concern ourselves with questions about whether or not the customer or attorney will know you’ve used an ATDS. Unless the customer requesting a quote also specifically and explicitly gave permission to be contacted using an automated dialing solution, even click to dial, you are not permitted to do it. TCPA affects us all. Please, don’t play games with this new law; it’s not worth it! Make sure you have processes in place so you don’t get in trouble. Plaintiff attorneys will be aggressively looking to make money off those that don’t keep informed.
Don’t forget you can contact your TCPA compliant leads more than once. Over 50 percent of leads are only called once, and closing a deal “best practices” requires up to 6 attempts. And remember, I’m here to help in any way (whether you buy leads from me or not). Don’t miss next weeks blog on how to leave a Great Voicemail!