What is the TCPA?

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) was signed into law in 1991 and became one of two key federal rules, the other being the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR), covering telephone communications in the United States.

Any person, business, or entity that conducts telephone solicitations needs to comply with the TCPA. The TCPA covers voice calls, faxes, VoIP calls, and text messages.

The TCPA defines “telephone solicitation” as "the initiation of a telephone call or message for the purpose of encouraging the purchase or rental of, or investment in, property, goods, or services, which is transmitted to any person, but such term does not include a call or message (A) to any person with that person’s prior express invitation or permission, (B) to any person with whom the caller has an established business relationship, or (C) by a tax-exempt nonprofit organization.”

If an organization uses a third party to make calls on its behalf, it could be held liable for any TCPA violations made by the third party.

Achieving TCPA Compliance

The TCPA has a variety of requirements related to phone calls, text messages, and faxes. For your organization to maintain TCPA compliance, it needs to be doing the following:

  • Suppressing against the National Do Not Call Registry and state Do Not Call lists when required.
  • Accept and honor Do Not Call (DNC) requests from consumers and keep a centralized list of such requests along with the dates they were made.
  • Obtain prior express written consent when using autodialers or prerecorded messages.
  • Only make calls between the hours of 8:00 AM and 9:00 PM at the recipient’s location.
  • Ensure caller ID is displayed.
  • Disclose certain material facts including the agent’s name, company name, and contact information.
  • Send a DNC policy to a consumer if requested.
  • Train all telephone agents on their compliance responsibilities prior to engaging with customers.
  • Monitor the abandonment rate when predictively dialing. For calls answered by a live person, the abandonment rate shouldn’t exceed 3% in a 30-day period (per campaign).
  • Include an automated opt-out feature in abandonment messages and prerecorded messages.
  • Monitor and enforce internal (and external 3rd parties) for compliance.
  • Maintain records of compliance.

The Risks of Non-compliance

Class Action: The greatest risk for companies subject to the TCPA is class action lawsuits. TCPA Class Actions often result in multimillion-dollar settlements. The TCPA provides consumers with a private right of action which has resulted in thousands of lawsuits against companies related to non-compliant calls and text messages.

Regulator Enforcement: Both the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) and state Attorneys General can enforce the TCPA and bring lawsuits in federal court for actual damages or fines of $500, whichever is greater. If a company knowingly violated the law, that amount can be tripled to $1,500 per willful violation.

Reputational Damage: It’s important to keep in mind the possibility of damage to an organization’s reputation. The effects of negative publicity can be worse for a company long-term than the fine. Professional plaintiffs tend to target companies with a history of TCPA cases.

How We Can Help

CompliancePoint has a team of marketing compliance experts that use industry-leading technology to help customers achieve and maintain TCPA compliance. They will work with your organization to identify any gaps or deficiencies in your existing marketing program that could lead to unnecessary risk exposure. They will then guide you through the implementation of policies and procedures to mitigate those risks.

We offer a wide range of monitoring services designed to help organizations stay in compliance on an ongoing basis.

Let's get you started with TCPA Compliance

Frequently Asked Questions

TCPA stands for the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. The law went into effect in 1991 and applies to any person, business, or entity that conducts telephone solicitations.

TCPA rules include:

  • Honor the Do Not Call registry
  • Obtain express written consent when using autodialers and prerecorded messages
  • Calls must be made between 8:00 AM and 9:00 PM
  • Caller ID must be displayed
  • Accept and honor Do Not Call requests from consumers

Under the TCPA consent is a written or oral agreement giving consent to be contacted at a specific phone number.

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