Attention credit and collections professionals. Debt collectors must continue to obtain prior express consent to call a consumer’s cell phone number when using an autodialer or prerecorded message.
On February 15, 2012, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a Report and Order under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) imposing new restrictions on autodialed and prerecorded telemarketing calls (robocalls).
A recent Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruling on the TCPA “Telephone Consumer Protection Act” has caused some confusion for collection agents, collection agencies, and some of our clients that use our phone list cleaning tools to identify line type.The ruling talks about a debt collector’s ability to call a consumer’s cell phone through the use of an autodialer.
Please note the following regarding compliance with the TCPA for debt collectors:
- The recent ruling does not change the existing requirements for debt collectors to comply with the TCPA.
- A debt collector must still obtain a consumer’s prior express consent to call a consumer’s cell phone using an autodialer or prerecorded message.
- Links to site regarding TCPA Compliance
The final rule only applies to telemarketing calls and does not apply to collection calls.
Debt collectors must still comply with the TCPA requirements as they existed before the ruling. This means credit and collection professionals should continue to Identify Phone Number Line Type in efforts to remain in compliance. If you do not know if you are calling a cell phone, landline or VoIP line, you can use our free line type identification tool for single searches or our online batch tool larger lists.
Specifically, the Report and Order implements four new restrictions:
- Telemarketers must get express written consent before placing robocalls. Consent can be provided electronically.
- The “established business relationship” exception to the FCC’s existing telemarketing rules no longer applies to robocalls. Under the TCPA, this exception allowed robocalls to residential lines when the caller had an established business relationship with the consumer.
- Telemarketers placing robocalls must include an automated, interactive opt-out mechanism on each call so the called party can cease further calls.
- The Commission’s existing rules include a 3% limit on the percentage of dropped or abandoned calls that a telemarketer may incur using predictive dialers over a 30-day period. The current rules allow telemarketers to average the number of dropped or abandoned calls over multiple campaigns. This rule is modified so that the number of dropped or abandoned calls will be measured on a “per campaign” standard.