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New FCC Telemarketing Rules Will Dramatically Affect How Predictive Dialers are Used

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March 26, 2012

New FCC Telemarketing Rules Will Dramatically Affect How Predictive Dialers are Used

By Jamie Epstein, TMCnet Web Editor

Those who use predictive dialers, a computer-based dialing system that has the ability to quickly make multiple outbound calls, must already adhere to multiple rules and regulations and on Feb. 15, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC (News - Alert)) added some new rules under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which will combine the FCC’s regulations for prerecorded telemarketing with rules the Federal Trade Commission (FTC (News - Alert)) released some years ago.

Now mandating that prior written signed consent be in place for prerecorded telemarketing, automated opt-outs are easy to access and text messages are included within the prerecorded telemarketing requirements, the FCC is also making the same prior written signed consent be required for auto or predictive-dialed live agent calls to cell phones, as well as an automated opt-out for “abandoned” live-agent auto/predictive-dialed telemarketing calls to residential lines and cell phones required, according to a recent article.

 In years earlier, the FTC allowed banks and other financial companies to place prerecorded telemarketing calls, however now with these much stricter FCC rules all companies must meet these rigorous standards. One thing to note: the new FCC rules do not affect non-telemarketing calls including political messaging, informational and customer care calls, debt collection, etc.

Becoming effective in March or April 2013, the FCC is enforcing that a consumer consent in writing to receive prerecorded telemarketing calls. The consent must serve as proof that the consumer received “clear and conspicuous” disclosure of the consequences of providing the requested consent, or in layman’s terms that the consumer is allowing prerecorded calls by or on behalf of a seller to be made to them in the future; they are in full agreement that they can receive these type of calls at the number provided. In addition, the consent must not have anything to do with buying a good or service, as they must be distinctly separate.

The new FCC rules will definitely impact the predictive dialer industry, as these systems are blocked from completing these calls without “prior express consent” from the intended party being received. For residential lines however, although the TCPA and FCC rules limit the use of a prerecorded voice solution, it doesn’t encompass auto/predictive dialer equipment.

Companies that use auto/predictive dialers to place live-agent sales calls and that allow their equipment to abandon some calls (up to three percent) will have to alter their systems so the recorded message that plays includes an automated opt-out. This must start to take place within 90 days of the rules taking effect.

Predictive dialers boast a variety of capabilities including setting times to call back a potential customer, offering reminders, delivering emails and transferring calls. How will these new rules affect the frequency in which they are used when these mandates officially kick off? I guess we will have to wait and see.

Edited by Carrie Schmelkin

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