Technology is dynamic and constantly changing. Keeping up with the latest regulations can seem overwhelming. For call centers, Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and Do Not Call (DNC) registry compliance are paramount to a successful and effective business.
At Legal Conversion Center, compliance with applicable laws and regulations is crucial to our success as a leading legal call center. We continuously review our policies and services for client intake for law firms to ensure that we are abiding by national and state DNC regulations.
Below, we provide useful information for call centers and our partners on the DNC registry, why compliance is important, and what steps we take to protect our partners and their clients.
What is the DNC?
The Do Not Call (DNC) registry is a national database created in 2003 by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The database contains the phone numbers of individuals and families who do not want to receive calls from telemarketers. The database is maintained by the U.S. government.Have a Question? Call Us Today!
Why was the DNC created?
The DNC registry was created in response to a three-year review of the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) and the FTC’s experience with calls and consumers. After reviewing more than 64,000 submissions to the FTC, the DNC registry was created.
The purpose of the DNC registry is to give consumers more control over who calls them and for what purpose. DNC regulations include the following:
- Telemarketers must disclose who they are and who they represent
- Telemarketers can only contact consumers during certain times
- Telemarketers are prohibited from using deceptive practices
- Telemarketers are prohibited from contacting consumers on the DNC registry
Telemarketers, or companies using telemarketing tactics, who violate DNC registry regulations are subject to fines and penalties.
Fines for DNC violations
The FTC governs the DNC registry and related violations. There are aggressive penalties for violations. There are national DNC registry guidelines, but many states also have individual DNC rules. The fines for DNC violations are as follows:
- FTC Fines: Up to $40,000 per call
- FCC (Federal Communications Commission) Fines: Up to $16,000 per violation
- State DNC Fines: $100 up to $25,000 per call
How to Add Oneself to the DNC
There are currently more than 241 million phone numbers actively registered on the national DNC registry. If you want to add your number to the list, there are a few ways you can do this. Adding your number to the DNC registry is completely free.
- Phone: Call 1-888-382-1222 (TTY: 1-866-290-4236) from the number you want to add to the registry
- Online: Register your number online at donotcall.gov. You will receive an email link to complete registration.
Once you register to add yourself to the DNC registry, your number will show up on the list by the next day. However, it can take up to 31 days for the calls to stop. If you are still receiving calls or have questions, you can call or check your registration using the same info above.
Registration on the DNC list does not expire. The only way that your number will be removed is if you request removal. You can add both landline and mobile phone numbers.
How to File a Complaint
Some telemarketing calls are inconvenient or annoying, while others are more serious and result in the consumer losing money. Scam telemarketing calls are a real threat that cost consumers thousands of dollars each year. Any DNC violations or scams should be reported to the FTC.
- To report an unwanted call where no money was lost, consumers can use a streamlined reporting tool at donotcall.gov.
- To report a phone scam or money lost due to a DNC violation, consumers can file a report at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
When reporting a DNC violation, report as much information as possible, such as the number that called you, any call back number, the date and time, and any identifying information from the caller.
Who Enforces the DNC
The DNC registry is governed by the FTC and the FCC. The FTC is the primary enforcing body. Since the start of the DNC registry, there have been 151 enforcement actions taken against companies or telemarketers for violating DNC regulations. Of those, 147 enforcement actions have been resolved totaling $178 million in civil penalties, and $112 million is restitution.Custom Intake Services. Get a Quote!
Exceptions to the DNC
The DNC registry is a great way to stop telemarketing calls, unfortunately, there are some limitations and exceptions. For example, the DNC registry does not apply to calls from non-profits, charities, or politically-related calls. Additional exceptions include:
- Business-to-business marketing calls
- Bill collectors
Consumers should also note that the DNC registry does not block calls. To block unwanted calls, consumers can contact their phone service provider, download an app, or check out the FCC’s Call Blocking Resources online.Need a Legal Assistant? Call Us Today!
Call Centers and the DNC Registry
Call centers must be aware of the TCPA and DNC registry regulations for both inbound and outbound calls. As we discussed above, there are strict penalties for violating these laws. Governing agencies will expect any call center to do their homework and put policies in place to ensure compliance with regulations in order to protect consumers.
Call centers most often manage inbound calls, but there are times when outbound calls are necessary and useful. Outbound calls that are subject to DNC rules include:
- Unsolicited Calls: If your business has not had contact with a consumer in 18 months, an outbound call would be deemed unsolicited.
- Sales Calls: If your business calls consumers for the sole purpose of advertising or selling, these calls are subject to DNC regulations.
When in doubt, it is always best to review DNC regulations.
Call Center Best Practices
For call centers, it is best to have a stable, written policy for inbound and outbound calls that abides by the TCPA and DNC regulations. All agents should receive proper training on the DNC registry to ensure that the call center is not violating consumer rights.
Some best practices for call centers to maintain compliance include:
- Purchasing Lists: Call centers can purchase DNC registry lists – both national and state. Purchasing these lists is a great way to ensure that you are not contacting consumers who have registered with the DNC.
- Internal DNC List: Call centers also benefit from an internal DNC list. This is a list created and maintained internally that includes numbers from consumers who have responded that they do not want to receive calls. An internal DNC list should be updated at all times.
- Inbound Follow-up: Call centers can follow-up with consumers they have been in contact with within the past 18 months. However, some states have separate rules limiting the follow-up period to as little as three months.
- Cold Call Rules: Cold calls are a common business strategy, but there are rules for making this type of call. For example, businesses and call centers can only make cold calls between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. in the consumers time zone. The caller must identify themselves immediately with relevant information.
To ensure compliance with TCPA and DNC regulations, call centers must be diligent in reviewing, maintaining, and updating their policies and procedures.Legal Intake Call Center. Get a Quote!
How LCC Uses the DNC
At Legal Conversion Center, we pride ourselves on maintaining strict adherence to TCPA and DNC regulations. We use the DNC registry as a means of supporting our partners and their clients by ensuring we do not contact consumers on the DNC list.
LCC only utilizes the DNC list as a means of ensuring compliance. We do not use the information for any other purpose, or provide that information to anyone else. Our priority is providing intake and call center services that are high quality, ethical, and legal in every way.
DNC and Dead Lead Follow up
At LCC, we do offer our partners dead lead follow-up services. This service includes reaching out to potential clients who have not yet signed a retainer. When we provide this service, we pay careful attention to the length of time that has passed since the original contact date. If the contact date falls outside of national and state DNC rules, we will not contact that potential client.
Get More Information from Legal Conversion Center
DNC compliance is just one way that LCC is committed to providing the best law firm intake and call center services to our partners. To find out more about our services, contact us for a free quote.Need Legal Intake Services? Call Today.