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On Oct. 16, 2013, new FCC regulations related to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) -- which established the federal "do not call" list -- go into effect. The new rules will have significant implications for marketers by introducing a prior express written consent requirement for text messages and calls to mobile phones. Much of the so called “opt-in” data floating around in this industry will not meet the new rigorous mobile device consent standards. For example, the “established business relationship” exception for pre-recorded messages will no longer suffice.
Among other things, the new rules require that marketers have prior express written consent to autodial or send pre-recorded messages to cell phones. The rules, which put the
burden of proof for compliance on the marketer/caller, come with stiff penalties ($500- $1,500 per call/text) and will open the door for consumer class action lawsuits.
The new TCPA rules will have broad implications for three reasons:
Many marketers that make outbound calls to consumers utilize call centers. These call centers typically use autodialing software to make the calling process more efficient.
A growing percentage of U.S. households exclusively rely on wireless phones. As of June 2012, 35.8% of U.S. households were wireless only.
Consumers can bring private lawsuits or initiate class action lawsuits against marketers that violate the regulations.
Internet marketers face a particularly difficult burden of certification and recordkeeping. Internet leads, also known as web leads or inquiries, are generated when a consumer ﬁlls out a form on a website requesting to be contacted by a business (marketer). Companies that buy and sell Internet leads constitute a $1.7 billion industry. Marketers will have to develop special consent acquisition and certification protocols for these third-party leads.