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Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) Compliance and Call Centers

Is your legal call center Telephone Consumer Protection Act compliant? Legal call centers, and the law firms they partner with, must be aware of the TCPA and how this law affects communication with consumers.

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) is a federal law that was enacted in 1991 to protect consumers from unwanted telemarketing calls, texts, and faxes. The law outlines several regulations that telemarketers and other companies must follow when contacting consumers. The TCPA was signed into law in response to growing concerns about unregulated or harassing telemarketing calls.

At Legal Conversion Center, our team of professional agents are all trained in TCPA guidelines. All of our services align with state and federal laws, and we pride ourselves on providing only the most competent and ethical service for our partners.

Part of our dedication to quality and ethical service is helping others understand relevant laws like the TCPA. That’s why we have created this guide about TCPA compliance for call centers, law firms, and other businesses.

What is TCPA Law and Why Is it Important 

The primary goal of the TCPA is to give consumers more control over who can contact them and how. Conversations about the TCPA often focus on telemarketers, but the law includes companies, call centers, and debt collectors.

Law firms communicate directly with clients through telephone calls and texts. That means they are subject to the guidelines and regulations set forth in the TCPA. Similarly, legal call centers also must abide by the TCPA when communicating with clients on behalf of a law firm.

The Do Not Call List 

The National Do Not Call Registry was first implemented in 1992. This part of the TCPA is governed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC requires companies and marketers to maintain a list of consumer telephone numbers that they should not contact unless the consumer gives written consent.

The national DNC registry includes consumers who have requested that they not be contacted via telephone or text. Consumers can sign up for the registry, report unwanted calls, and report TCPA violations online. The DNC registry is enforced by the FTC and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

The 2015 TCPA Declaratory Ruling and Order 

In 2015, a number of companies and trade associations petitioned the FCC for clarification of the TCPA guidelines. The Declaratory Ruling and Order was adopted with a 3-2 vote. The most relevant clarifications provided in the Ruling included:

  • Updating the definition of “autodialer”
  • Reassigning calls to wireless numbers
  • Clarifying the responsibilities of messaging apps and programs
  • Understanding revocation of consent
  • Exemptions for time-sensitive information
  • Text message technologies
  • Amending the definition of prior express written consent
  • Call blocking technology

With this in mind, it is important to, not only review the TCPA, but review the revised guidelines that were implemented after 2015.

What Are the Requirements of the TCPA?

There are multiple provisions within the TCPA that companies and call centers must be aware of in order to avoid violating the law and facing potential penalties. The TCPA requires callers to comply with all of the following:

  • Call Time Restrictions: Callers and call centers can only contact consumers between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. in the recipients time zone.
  • Automatic Dialing Systems: Companies are not allowed to use autodialing systems to call or text consumers if the consumer will be charged for the call. No autodialing systems should be used without express written consent from the recipient.
  • Robocalls: Companies cannot use an artificial or prerecorded voice to call mobile or landline phones without express written consent by the recipient.
  • Identification: When calling consumers, callers must identify themselves with their name, the company they are calling on behalf of, and a telephone number they can be reached at.
  • Internal Do Not Call List: An internal do not call list is a list of consumers who have asked the company not to contact them again. Companies and call centers must abide by this list.
  • National Do Not Call Registry: Phone numbers on the DNC must not be used for telemarketing purposes. The national DNC list is just one way to protect consumers. It should be noted that some states have their own DNC protocols.

Who Must Comply With the TCPA?

Any entity – individual or business – that solicits business via telephone or text should comply with the TCPA. This includes any communications via call, text message, fax, or VoIP calls. Certainly, call centers must comply with the TCPA whenever they communicate directly with consumers or clients, or with individuals on behalf of another company. A legal intake call center, in particular, should be well versed in TCPA guidelines, enforcement, and requirements.

How Is the TCPA Enforced?

There are multiple enforcement mechanisms for the TCPA. The TCPA includes provisions that allow consumers to file lawsuits against companies who violate the law. Consumers who receive unwanted telemarketing calls, texts, or faxes can file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), or may take legal action against that company.

From 2019 to 2020, over 3,000 TCPA complaints were filed in federal courts. Some TCPA complaints are resolved individually, while others may enter class action lawsuit status. Companies subject to a class action lawsuit could face millions of dollars in penalties and fines. One class action lawsuit against a debt collector resulted in $925 million in penalties.

TCPA & DNC Fines 

Consumers can seek damages for TCPA violations. Penalties for individual TCPA violations are:

  • Up to $500 per TCPA violation
  • Up to $1,500 per violation for willful violations

Because the TCPA is a strict liability statute, there are no limits on statutory damages, which means the penalties can be much higher.

What Are the Biggest TCPA Risks?

For call centers, there are some inherent TCPA risks that must be assessed when conducting business. The most important risks to be aware of include:

  • Personal Liability: There are cases of executives being targeted personally for litigation relating to TCPA violations.
  • DNC Violations: Increasingly, litigators are targeting DNC violations. Because there are federal, state, and internal DNCs to be mindful of, this makes compliance even more important.
  • Inaccurate Data: Data for call center and marketing lists is often generated from outside lead generators. While this is often valuable information, it can be outdated, which can lead to TCPA violations.
  • Reassigned Numbers: Estimates suggest that 100,000 phone numbers are reassigned every day. Since consent is the key tenant of the TCPA, this is a huge risk when contacting consumers.

Ensuring Your Legal Call Center is TCPA Compliant

As a call center, your business is based around communication – often via telephone and text. Of course you want your business to succeed, which is why it is so important to ensure that your legal call center is compliant with the TCPA.

We hope that this guide helps you understand what the TCPA is, why it is important, and why your call center should be TCPA compliant. In addition to the information we have provided, the FTC and FCC both offer helpful information about the TCPA and national DNC list.

If you are a law firm looking for a quality call center that adheres to the TCPA, give Legal Conversion Center a call. We are committed to providing the best legal intake and call center services out there in a way that supports the law, our partners, and consumers.

LCC is a call center for legal services that partners with law firms across the United States. Call us today to find out how we can help your law firm grow and succeed.