How to Avoid TCPA Lawsuits
Do you advertise your business using telemarketing? If so, you should be aware of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
In reaction to growing telemarketing practices, Congress passed the TCPA in 1991. The law prohibits the use of automatic dialing systems, and sets strict restrictions on calls and text messages sent to consumers.
Several large companies have already been sued for millions of dollars under the TCPA. In 2013, Domino's had to pay up to $9.75 million to settle a TCPA class action lawsuit for sending unsolicited text messages and phone calls. Last year, Capital One agreed to pay $75.5 million, one of the largest settlement amounts in a TCPA class action case, to compensate almost 21 million people who received unsolicited phone calls and text messages.
So, how can your business avoid a TCPA lawsuit?
To avoid a lawsuit, make sure your telemarketing program complies with these regulations:
- Express written consent. Before you can send any text messages or make any robocalls, you must have the consumer's express, unequivocal written consent. If there is ever any dispute about whether consent was given, you will bear the burden of proving the consumer consented.
- Option to opt out. The consumer is allowed to revoke consent at any time, and you must give them the option of opting out. If you are using a robocall, the recording must inform consumers of their option to opt out, and how to do it, at the beginning of the call.
- Identification. Your robocall recording must clearly identify your business. Include your name, contact number, and a message stating that the call is for telemarketing purposes.
- Reasonable hours. The TCPA prohibits any calls made before 8 a.m. and after 9 a.m.
- Do Not Call list. This may sound obvious, but do not call any numbers listed on the National Do Not Call Registry. States may also have their own Do Not Call lists, so be sure to check both lists. The TCPA also requires that businesses maintain a company-specific list of customers that are on the Do Not Call list
If you hired an outside telemarketing firm to conduct your telephone advertising campaign, make sure that they, too, are complying with TCPA regulations. You can be held liable for violations committed by a telemarketing firm working on your behalf.
If you are considering implementing a telemarketing campaign, consult with an experienced business attorney first to ensure that your advertising program will not get you sued.
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