Thanks to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, most consumers go about their day without getting unwanted robocalls and spam texts flooding their phone lines.
Originally meant to regulate the telemarketing industry, TCPA protects consumers from unsolicited calls, texts, and faxes without prior consent. So long as consumers opt out, telemarketers can’t make automated phone calls, hide their identities or contact people on the Do Not Call Registry.
Although telemarketers are TCPA’s main target, lead generators may run into problems if they fail to follow the rules. Violating TCPA can result in huge fines; one unsolicited message alone can cost a company anywhere from $500 to $1,500. Imagine what happens if illegal messages start to pile up. Guard your wallet and stay TCPA compliant by sticking to these three tips.
1. Get User Consent in Writing
At its core, TCPA is all about consent. Without a user’s express permission, you’re not allowed to contact them in any way.
Consent language should be clear and user-friendly so that nothing is misunderstood. In plain words, tell users they’re authorizing messages and calls from a company if they agree to the terms. Always give consumers the choice to opt in or out of promotional calls, texts, and faxes, as demonstrated by xMatters below.
User consent must be in writing. If there’s no written proof of consent, you’ll be in trouble if a consumer decides to take legal action. Services like TrustedForm issue consent-verification certificates for each lead form. These certificates record user data input, including mouse movements and clicks, as well as confirm the presence of consent language on forms.
2. Secure Your Data
In today’s world, data theft is all too common. As a lead generator, you’re a prime hacking target. Thieves take sensitive consumer data, such as IP addresses and contact information, all of which you most likely have on file. In the event lead data is stolen and/or misused, you’ll be held responsible for the damage.
Keep your data records organized and relevant. Depending on your company’s policies, it’s best to delete important consumer data from your system when you don’t need it anymore. Store highly sensitive information, like credit card and Social Security numbers, under multiple layers of encryption.
You should also verify who has permission to access consumer data. Not everyone on your staff should have the same level of authority. Consider running an automated log to note each time someone opens consumer information. That way, if there is a data leak, you can see exactly who was going through your records.
3. Monitor Third Parties
The lead generation industry relies on buying and selling data. As such, you rely on outside parties to keep your business moving. You must make sure third-party partners and clients are TCPA compliant, otherwise you, too, will be breaking the law should they violate the rules.
American Express found themselves in the middle of a TCPA lawsuit when their third-party telemarketing partners, West Asset Management and Alorica Inc., made unsolicited calls to non-American Express consumers. Because the calls were made on American Express’ behalf, the credit card company was found to be liable for TCPA violations. In the end, American Express paid out $9.25 million in damages to consumers.
Do your research on potential partners or clients before going into business with them. Check out their official websites and social media accounts. Look for press coverage, both good and bad, by reputable sources. If something seems off, go with your gut. It’s better to lose out on a business deal than getting slapped with a TCPA lawsuit.
Don’t let your company be in the next class-action lawsuit headline. You have the tools to stay TCPA compliant. Get user consent, keep data secure, and monitor your third-party partners. Follow these tips and you’ll likely keep your business safe.
Boutique digital marketing agency, eZanga, offers a full suite of solutions for advertisers and publishers seeking business growth — from pay per click (PPC) and cost per call solutions (CPC) to real-time ad fraud detection and elimination for accurate conversions from Anura. In the past decade, eZanga has received industry recognition in many forms for its efforts — inclusion on the Inc. 500|5000 list for five consecutive years and recognition by Deloitte and SmartCEO Magazine as well as Philly100, as one of the Philadelphia area’s fastest-growing companies. For more information, please visit www.ezanga.com and anura.io.