Before You Reach Out to Customers, Ensure You Know the TCPA Rules
Every contact center today understands the “Telephone Consumer Protection Act,” or TCPA. First introduced in 1991, the TCPA has been amended many times to keep up with technology, and has had a federal do-not-call registry added under its umbrella. The purpose of the TCPA was to curb telemarketing abuses and avoid transferring costs to consumers at a time when mobile phones typically included fees for incoming calls. With the advent of VoIP telephony, text messaging, instant messaging, Web communications and other more modern channels, the TCPA has had to move and change to accommodate. In October of last year, the TCPA was amended yet again to ensure that marketers have express written consent from customers before they use certain common types of outbound communications. Today, the TCPA spans autodialing, texting, calls to cell phones, faxing, certain landline calls, express consent and more.
For this reason, the TCPA is more relevant than ever for marketers. Considered by many to be rules only for cold-calling outbound dialer-based marketing, it’s so much more than that. Simply calling an existing customer today could get a company in trouble if they’re not aware of the rules, particularly if the company is calling a mobile phone number or it’s using an automated outbound message (“robocalls.”) Fines are high, and no company today can afford to make missteps with telemarketing legislation.
TCPA litigation has been increasing significantly in recent years, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC (News - Alert)). The number of TCPA-related cases filed in 2012 increased by 34 percent compared to 2011 and was more than three times the number of cases brought in 2010. According to the agency, part of this rise may be attributed to the increased use of mobile messaging, combined with the enormous potential damages possible under that particular statute. Every individual text, call or fax that is found to be in violation of the TCPA can result in damages from $500 to $1,500, and there’s no limit on the number of violations that can be included in an individual suit. In addition, class-action TCPA litigation is becoming more common.
Given all this, are you ready to reach out to your customers? It may make you nervous…understandably so. On Tuesday, April 29th at 11:30 am EDT, Interactive Intelligence (News - Alert) will sponsor a Web event designed to educate marketers about the implications of TCPA today. The event, entitled, “The Pitfalls of TCPA and Its Impact on Your Business: Up-Selling, Telemarketing & Collections,” will feature speakers Mike Bevel, Editor of InsideARM; Martha Buyer, a telecommunications attorney; and Interactive Intelligence Product Manager Chad McCormick. The event has been designed to help attendees navigate TCPA’s increasingly complex governance in order to improve adherence while maximizing performance. An extensive Q&A will follow the Web presentation, during which Bevel, Buyer and McCormick will answer live audience questions.
More information and registration information may be found here.
Edited by Maurice Nagle