Congress enacted the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) in the early nineties to address complaints from consumers about the growing number of calls from businesses. The intention was good: to help free consumers from irrelevant and excessive calling. Unfortunately, the reality does not always pan out as lawmakers intended. There are instances when the rules of the TCPA can hurt businesses.
Who must follow the rules of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act?
The law applies to everyone. Small businesses and large businesses alike. The rules are used for landlines and cellphones.
What types of actions does this law prohibit?
Examples of actions that the law specifically prohibits include:
- Calling those who are listed on the National Do Not Call Registry
- Calling between the hours of 9 p.m. and 8 a.m.
- Leaving voice mails without prior consent
- Using recordings or simulations to call mobile devices when the receiver pays for the contact
- Using an automated telephone dialing system to call emergency lines, hospital rooms, health care facilities or similar establishments
The law also requires that those making these calls be transparent about who they represent. Callers cannot refuse to provide their name and contact information about the organization they represent.
Certain tax-exempt organizations may be exempt. It is also important to note that even those who have given consent to contact, such as prior customers, may change their mind. This could result in a revocation of consent. Businesses who continue to reach out after revocation of consent could face allegations of a TCPA violation. As such, it is wise to keep a record of communications with clients used to establish consent. This could prove valuable evidence in the event your business faces allegations of a violation.