As outbound call centers continue to grow in popularity, it is more important than ever to ensure that your center is compliant with all applicable regulations. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) is just one federal law that sets strict guidelines for outbound calling operations. Keep reading for an overview of outbound call center compliance and key legislation that you need to be aware of.

What is outbound compliance?

Outbound call center compliance refers to the process of ensuring that your outbound call center is compliant with all applicable laws and regulations. This can be a complex and daunting task, as there are a variety of federal and state laws that regulate outbound call centers. The landscape of compliance is always changing, so it is important to stay up-to-date on the latest developments.

Outbound call centers must follow laws and regulations in geographical areas that they operate within. Depending on the type of outbound calls being made, different laws may apply. For example, outbound call centers that make sales calls are subject to the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR), which is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The TSR sets forth strict requirements for telemarketing operations, including a ban on making calls to consumers who have placed their phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry.

What is the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)?

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) is a federal law that was enacted in 1991 to protect consumers from certain types of automated and prerecorded calls. The TCPA imposes strict rules on outbound call centers, including obtaining prior express consent in a variety of circumstances and maintaining a “Do Not Call” list of consumers who have opted out of receiving telemarketing calls.

A few key TCPA guidelines to know about

  • If you are using an autodialer or a prerecorded voice, calls to mobile phones can only be made to consumers who have given prior express consent to receive calls from your call center.
  • There are certain emergency exceptions to the above rule, such as for critical life and safety situations.
  • For telemarketing calls using an autodialer or prerecorded voice, prior written (not just verbal) consent is required.

Can you use a predictive dialer and be TCPA compliant?

It is possible that a predictive dialer may be compliant with the TCPA, depending on its characteristics, such as whether it randomly or sequentially generates numbers to be called. Predictive dialers are generally outbound dialing systems that place outbound calls and connect live callers with consumers. These systems can greatly increase the efficiency of your outbound call center.

Who enforces TCPA?

There is a private right of action under the TCPA, so in addition to the statute receiving scrutiny and interpretation from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), private party plaintiffs can sue your call center alleging TCPA violations. Therefore, it is important to make sure that your center is in compliance.

What are Do Not Call Registries?

Do Not Call Registries are lists of consumers who have opted out of receiving telemarketing calls. Call centers must respect the wishes of consumers who have placed their number on the registry and refrain from calling them. Failure to do so in the United States can result in significant penalties from the FCC.

The National Do Not Call Registry is a list maintained by the FTC that prohibits telemarketers from calling consumers who have registered their phone number. The registry went into effect in 2003 and is free for consumers to sign up for.

In addition to the National Do Not Call Registry, many states also maintain their own do not call lists. These state-level registries typically have stricter rules than the national registry, so it is important to be aware of the laws in each state that your call center operates in.