WHAT IS TCPA
TCPA is an acronym for the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. First enacted under George H.W. Bush in 1991, the act restricts phone solicitations and regulates the use of auto-dialers and pre-recorded messages. It has since been edited to cover text-based telemarketing.
WHO IT EFFECTS
TCPA is a protection bubble for consumers so they aren't being hassled by telemarketers 24/7. Good for the consumer, but not so good for someone trying to make sales and close deals over the phone, especially if they violate the rules outlined by the TCPA.
Violating the TCPA can get really expensive, really fast. Individuals who file complaints against businesses for not following TCPA rules can sue for $500-1500 for each violation - up to 11k per incident! That said, with TCPA compliance, it is crucial to understand every facet of the act to remain fully of observant of the law.
Act of 1991
• Doesn't allow calling before 8am or after 9pm
• Requires that companies maintain a "DNC" (Do Not Call) list of consumers who asked to be taken off the calling list; a request which must be honored for 5 years
• States that solicitors must provide their name, and who they are calling for
• Prohibits the use of robocalls or recordings
• Prohibits robocalls to an emergency line, hospital, physicians office, hospital or healthcare facility
2013 Amendment to the Act
• Companies are prohibited from contacting consumers with telemarketing phone calls or text messages without their prior consent
• Applies the rules to a company that uses a third party to place calls, where the company can be held liable for the communcations made on its behalf
2015 Amendment to the Act
• Addresses definitions of an autodialer, SMS texts, called party, revoking prior express consent, reassigned phone numbers and cases for the one-call exception
• Telephone services are allowed to offer blocking technology to consumers to block robocalls
• Callers are required to stop calling reassigned wireless and wired numbers after a single call
• Consumers have a right to revoke consent to receive calls or text messages sent from an autodialer at any time
• Consent survives when a consumer ports from a landline to wireless phone