The new 2013 TCPA rules have just gone into effect and will affect those Cemeteries and Funeral Homes who rely on telemarketing for outreach.
Two of the biggest changes have to do with Autodialed and/or pre-recorded calls & texts.
Beginning October 16, 2013, prior express written consent will be required for all autodialed and/or pre-recorded calls/texts sent/made to cell phone and pre-recorded calls made to residential land lines for marketing purposes.
Consumer consent must be unambiguous, meaning that the consumer must receive a “clear and conspicuous disclosure” that he/she will receive future calls that deliver auto-dialed and/or pre-recorded telemarketing messages on behalf of a specific advertiser; that his/her consent is not a condition of purchase; and he/she must designate a phone number at which to be reached (which should not be pre-populated by the advertiser in an online form). Limited exceptions apply to this requirement, such as calls/texts from the consumer’s cellular carrier, debt collectors, schools, informational notices and healthcare-related calls.
Beginning October 16, 2013, the “established business relationship” exemption for pre-recorded telemarketing calls to residential landlines was eliminated.
In the past, advertisers could rely on an established business relationship (such as a previous purchase) to circumvent the need to obtain a consumer’s written consent to receive telemarketing calls. That exception to the consent requirement will no longer exist after this year. Advertisers will have to obtain written consumer consent, even if they previously had a business relationship with the consumer. This means advertisers will need to be very careful when contacting consumers who had expressed interest in their product/service in the past.
Companies who rely on Autodialers should consider having their customer lists scrubbed against the most up-to-date Do Not Call lists and Cell Phone lists. No one wants to be hit with a fine.
For more comprehensive information about the TCPA, please go to the TCPA page of the Dataman Group website.