The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) created the Do Not Call (DNC) Registry in 2003. It is a list of consumers who have elected to limit contact from telemarketers. This rule limits intrastate calls used by a seller or third party to sell a good or service.
What if there is an established business relationship?
One exception to these rules involves a prior business relationship between the seller and the consumer. The application of this exception has led to some confusion. The FTC states that a business may reach out to a consumer for “up to 18 months” after the last purchase, delivery or payment. This exception does not apply if the consumer asks the seller to refrain from making contact.
The business can also reach out for up to three months after a consumer makes an inquiry with the business.
Are there other exemptions?
Certain businesses are exempt from these rules. Examples include nonprofit organizations or for-profit organizations that are reaching out with a message that provides information, a survey or calls that are made to consumers that have given permission to receive telemarketing calls.
What happens if my business violates these rules?
It is against the law for a business to contact a number on the registry. Those who violate this law can face civil penalties and sanctions. In some cases, the business may qualify for a safe harbor. A safe harbor may apply if the business can show that the contact was an inadvertent mistake. Additional factors that are generally required to meet this safe harbor include the ability to show it trains callers on the regulations, monitors for compliance and accesses the registry on a regular basis.