People around the world are well aware now that businesses commonly use telephone lines to contact their target audience. They can use pre-recorded messages, sales representatives, etc. for this purpose. You will most commonly receive tons of calls from authentic charities and businesses. However, it is also not uncommon to receive such calls from scammers at times, pretending to be an authorized business.
If you run a telemarketing firm, then in this article you will find information on how to avoid telemarketing fines. We will also discuss ways to maintain FTC compliance for your telemarketing business.
Telemarketing Fines- What you Need to Know
Those who own telemarketing firms must acknowledge that it involves a lot of elements. Telemarketing processes are not merely about making unlimited sales call daily. One has to pay specific attention to the federal laws surrounding telemarketing businesses and most importantly FTC compliance.
By prioritizing your observance of the federal laws and FTC compliance, you can avoid the massive fines that telemarketers commonly suffer. What’s a better option instead is to abide by the laws, which are not particularly harsh, and protect your business against monetary penalties.
By FTC compliance we refer to the sales rules for telemarketing. The commission takes charge of this sector and the TCPA of 1991 (Telephone Consumer Protection Act) also lays down several stipulations. Over here, it is also important to know that a sister agency by the name of FCC governs TCPA.
In this year alone in March, the FCC rolled out approximately $225 million telemarketing fines to two companies. Can you guess what the fault was behind the staggering fines? The companies fell out of their compliance with the robocalling rules and thus had to suffer such a huge penalty.
If only telemarketers understood and abided by the simple rules, they wouldn’t have to suffer such devastating fines. One other thing telemarketers must proactively do is to check for updates in the laws, which happen regularly. This will help you stay updated on the court rulings and information surrounding compliance policies.
The Specifics of Telemarketing Rules
The one drawback of telemarketing is that consumers are usually unaware of whom they are dealing with. Telemarketing offers do not exist in print form which consumers can read over and over. They’re also not in the shape of TV ads that consumers can see repeatedly or radio ads that they can hear often.
Telemarketing offers deliver over a mere telephone call, in a single telephone conversation. This is why telemarketers have to follow certain laws. These are as follows:
1. Things Telemarketers Must Disclose at the Start of Each Call
- The name of the company, organization dealer, etc. that they are working for and representing.
- They must clearly outline the type of business or product that they are promoting
- They must explain the purpose of the call
2. During the call, the Telemarketers must disclose…
- What conditions, if there are, that the consumers must fulfill before they can expect delivery of their orders
- The price of the service or product that the telemarketers are promoting
3. By-Law, the telemarketers cannot…
- Run a contest, game, or lottery in which the consumers have to make payments in advance as a condition for delivery of the product. They must also not conduct any game, lottery, or contest where they fail to disclose the prizes, their approximate value, and relevant facts to the customers.
- In terms of material respect, telemarketers cannot provide false or misleading information or representation
Ask for advance payments on products that have a grossly high price in comparison to the fair market value of the same product
- Offering minimal cost products or free gifts as an inducement to make customers buy more of their products. The only condition under which this can be acceptable is that the telemarketer discloses the exact value of the free gift, product, or premium.
TCPA Compliance- What you need to know
FTC or TCPA compliance is mandatory for your telemarketing business if you wish to keep it above troubled waters. However, it is important to note that maintaining TCPA compliance can be difficult because it does not deal with fraudulent material.
More importantly, the TCPA with FCC governing has more to do with inappropriate behaviors from telemarketers, which often occur as accidents. Here are the guidelines for TCPA compliance and avoiding fines:
- Telemarketers must not make robocalls.
- Telemarketers cannot send unauthorized faxes as a means of advertisement.
- Telemarketers, looking to use SMS marketing has to register with 10DLC and get their message template approved before they run the campaign
- The TCPA prohibits the use of automated equipment for telephones on non-opt in data, for contacting healthcare facilities, hospitals, emergency numbers, mobile phones, and other services that the recipients have to pay for.
- TCPA does not allow telemarketers to call residences using artificial voices. There is an exception to this rule but only for certain conditions.
- Telemarketers, As per the recent STIR/SHAKEN update, have to supply information about their company and themselves too to the customers.
- Telemarketers must maintain a list of customers who have asked for no telemarketing calls from specific companies. They must also abide strictly by National Do-not-call Registry. However, the company-specific list of no-call customers is valid for five years and telemarketers must honor it accordingly. However, if it is a consumer on the national list, then telemarketers have to honor it for as long as the period stated.
- Telemarketers cannot call customers before 8 a.m and post 9 p.m. on weekdays. Telemarketing calls during the weekend are best to be avoided.
Telemarketing businesses run on the element of trust and comfort level. All the laws surrounding these prioritize the fact that in no way should customers feel threatened by any telemarketing calls they receive. It is important for every telemarketing to operate strictly on the basis of these rules. It is also all the need to do to avoid hefty fines during their operations and maintain a highly respected industry reputation.