Recent News Demonstrates Robocalling Is on Regulators' Radar6 Mar, 2012 By: Jeffrey D. Knowles, Venable LLP’s Advertising, Mikhia E. Hawkins
On Feb. 15, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved significant changes to its rules regarding telemarketing calls. Among the changes was an update of the agency’s rules governing telemarketing “robocalls” – marketing phone calls that make use of an auto-dialer or artificial or prerecorded voice.
Both the FCC and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have regulatory enforcement authority over marketing telephone calls made to consumers. The FCC’s changes largely harmonize its telemarketing rules, which are enforced under authority granted by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), with the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR). The TSR requires, among other things, that marketers secure prior express written consent for all robocalls to wireless numbers and residential landlines, regardless of whether the calls are to consumers with whom the marketer has a business relationship. It also requires that marketers make automated “opt-out” mechanisms available to consumers that enable them to opt out of receiving future prerecorded calls from the marketer.
In addition, the FCC revised its rules to adopt a “per-calling-campaign” standard for measuring the maximum percentage of live telemarketing sales calls that a telemarketer may lawfully drop or abandon because of the use of autodialing software or other equipment. The agency had previously used a 30-day average of all a marketer’s calls to calculate the marketer’s abandon rate.
Demonstrating that the FTC is also paying attention to robocallers’ practices, the agency announced two settlements with marketers of robocalling technology on February 24. The two companies allegedly marketed Web-based self-service robocall platforms to businesses that enabled the services’ users to make prerecorded sales calls by uploading a recorded message and a list of telephone numbers. The Web-based service would then dial each uploaded phone number and play the uploaded prerecorded message.
The FTC alleged that the robocall service companies violated federal telemarketing laws by enabling telemarketing campaigns that unlawfully called numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry, delivered prerecorded calls without complying with federal requirements for such calls, abandoned calls by playing prerecorded messages after call recipients answered the calls, and failed to disclose the caller’s identity during the calls. The companies’ robocall services allegedly used automated dialing equipment to deliver prerecorded messages.
The two settlements with the robocall self-service companies require that the businesses pay $10,000 to the FTC, with suspended civil penalty judgments of $2 million and $1 million, respectively. Additionally, the settlements prohibit the businesses from violating federal telemarketing laws in the future.
The changes to the FCC’s rules, as well as the recent FTC settlements, demonstrate that regulators are paying attention to the robocalling space. For marketers using robocalls, whether for lead generation, upselling existing clients, or any other reason, it is critical that they understand the regulations governing robocall-based marketing and develop best practices to ensure compliance with the state and federal rules regulating telemarketing.
Jeffrey D. Knowles is a partner at Venable LLP and chair of the firm’s Advertising, Marketing and New Media Group. Mikhia E. Hawkins is an attorney at Venable LLP. They can be reached at (202) 344-4000, or at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
|White Paper: Media Corps - What You Must Know|
|Case Study: AVC Corp - Theft-Preventive Packaging|
|Case Study: PlusOne Company – Greatest Profession|
|Product Marketing Manager #1741 - Central 1 Credit Union - Vancouver, Canada|
|When you?re passionate about what you do and where you work, the rest comes easy. That?s the culture at Central 1 Credit Union, and that?s precisely what we?re looking for from you. Supporting nearly 150 member credit unions across British Columbia and Ontario, we?re the backbone of the credit ...|
|Senior Marketing Specialist, Direct Response - C Spire - Ridgeland, MS|
|SUMMARY OF RESPONSIBILITIES: This position plays an integral role in developing and elevating our brand positioning and is responsible for driving and achieving awareness and net sales results. Plan, manage and analyze the results of micro-targeted, direct response (be that mail, digital, etc.) ...|
|Marketing Manager - National Journal Group - Washington, DC|
|National Journal, the premium provider of insightful reporting, essential research and analysis for those operating in Washington?s policy and government arenas, seeks a forward-thinking, results-driven and creative marketer to join our Marketing and Communications team as the Marketing Manager.The ...|
|Audience Development Specialist - Crain Communications - Detroit, MI|
|Top 3 Reasons To Apply:1.Dynamic fun environment 2.Will be a valued business member of the publications? management team 3.Able to use creativity as well as your analytical skill setScope of Opportunity:The ideal person for this role would have skills in marketing knowledge and analytical ability. ...|
|Temporary Marketing Communications Coordinator - Confidential - Vancouver, Canada|
|Position: Marketing Communications CoordinatorStatus: TemporaryTerm: February 1, 2016 to October 31, 2016Salary: $49,431.92Location: Vancouver, British ColumbiaClosing Date: January 15th, 2016 at 4:30 pmCompetition ...|