In a Report and Order issued February 15, 2012, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) sought to create uniformity between the FCC and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rules for autodialed or prerecorded telemarketing calls.
In the two years prior to this decision, many telemarketing companies have been required to adhere to FTC regulations, which have been more strict than those enforced by the FCC. This order brings the FCC’s standards for autodialed or prerecorded telemarketing calls in line with the FTC’s standards.
In essence, the new FCC Report and Order requires the following conditions for all autodialed or prerecorded telemarketing calls to wireless and residential lines:
- Company must have express prior written consent from the consumer. An existing business relationship is no longer considered consent.
- Consumer must have the ability to verbally opt out during a recorded call; or, if a voicemail has been left, the consumer must be able to call back and opt out.
- Company must maintain an abandoned call rate of 3% or lower for each calling campaign, over a 30-day period.
- Calls made by health care-related entities to residential lines relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) are exempt from TCPA requirements.
Who is Affected?
Many contact centers may already be in compliance with these new, more strict FCC rules. Businesses that have been required to comply with FTC regulations will experience no change in operations from the FCC Order.
Those that will be impacted fall into a group of businesses that the FTC had classified as “exempted groups.” These groups include common carriers, banks, credit unions, savings and loans, companies engaged in the business of insurance and airlines, and agencies conducting intrastate telemarketing calls.
This subset of businesses, including telemarketers, that have been operating as exempted groups and following the FCC’s less restrictive guidelines over the past two years will be directly affected by the FCC’s new Order.
Still Awaiting Further Decisions
The FCC’s new Report and Order does not address the TCPA telemarketer liability standard issue, which still remains under consideration at the FCC. This issue requires the FCC to determine whether companies would be held strictly liable for the actions of the third party telemarketers they contracted for services, or whether an agency standard would apply, which would shift the liability to the third party.
Although the decision regarding enforcement of an agency standard could have far-reaching consequences for the telemarketing industry, we are monitoring this decision closely and will bring you the latest information as it becomes available.
Next Steps: Achieving Compliance
As a leading provider of solutions that enable proactive outreach for sales, customer service and collections processes, Aspect can help companies achieve optimal productivity while complying with the latest TCPA rules. Our unified solution, Aspect® Unified IP®, offers a number of advantages that will help you ensure compliance.
For example, organizations can set call filters to avoid contacting consumers who have not provided express prior written consent. Parameters that control the pacing of the system can be set to operate within the two-second and 3% abandoned rules. And a built-in IVR self-service component enables consumers to opt out in an automated fashion.
Learn more by downloading Aspect’s complementary report, Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA): Guideline for Aspect customers on the latest FCC Report and Order.
For specific guidance on how to configure your environment to comply with these regulations, we encourage Aspect customers to contact their account representatives or appropriate Aspect partners.