You, inetUSA and TCPA Compliance
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) was passed by the United States Congress in 1991 and signed into law by President George H. W. Bush as Public Law 102-243 and it amended the Communications Act of 1934. It specifically restricts the way telephones may be used as a solicitation tool (i.e., telemarketing) and the use of automated telephone equipment in pursuit of marketing goals. It mandates the ways in which automatic dialing systems (frequently called robocallers or robodialers) maybe used as well as the use of artificial or prerecorded voice messages, SMS or other text messages, and fax machines. It also specifies several technical requirements for fax machines, autodialers, and voice messaging systems. Primarily these require the identification and contact information of the entity for whom the device is being used to be contained in the message.
inetUSA not only conducts itself according to these rules, we fully support them and encourage all others to do the same. We don't like being bothered with unwanted calls and we don't want to bother people who do not wish to be contacted, regardless of the value of our messages. It's also why we recommend multiple methods of contact (ex: direct mail, email, online advertising), none of which places the person being called into a situation in which they are unwilling to participate.
The TCPA laws (and the Federal Communications Commission rules under the TCPA regulations) require that unless the recipient has given previously expressed consent otherwise, the calling entity:
- May only place calls to residential prospects after 8 a.m. in the morning and calls must stop before 9 p.m. in the evening, in the local time zone of the residence.
- Must maintain a company-specific "do-not-call" (DNC) list of consumers who asked not to be called and these company-specific DNC requests must be honored for 5 years.
- Must honor the National Do Not Call Registry.
- Must provide their name, the name of the person or entity on whose behalf the call is being made, and a telephone number or address at which that person or entity may be contacted.
- Must not use an artificial voice or a voice recording as its primary method of information delivery (i.e simply calling to leave a message as opposed to a live caller attempting to engage in an one-on-one conversation).
- Must not make any call made using automated telephone equipment or an artificial or prerecorded voice to any emergency line (ex: "911"), an hospital or other medical emergency number, a physician's office, a hospital/health care facility/elderly room, a cellular telephone, or any service for which the recipient is charged for the call.
- Must not autodial calls that engage two or more lines of a multi-line business. In other words, a series of simultaneous calls must not engage multiple phone lines for a business, eliminating the businesses ability to take other calls.
- My not send out unsolicited advertising/marketing faxes.
To enforce this law, if a person feels they have been improperly contacted, they may seek the enforcement of specific penalties as prescribed by the law, by:
- Filing suit for up to $500 for each violation (or recover actual monetary loss, whichever is greater)
- If the action is determined to be a willful violation of the TCPA, seek up to three time the damages (ex: $1,500) for each violation
- Seeking an injunction to prevent future recurrences ... or
- All of the above
Here are a few more links to information about this issue:
- The National Do-Not-Call Registry Page
- The actual TCPA law itself TCPA Law
- A good Wikipedia Article regarding this issue
- The U.S. Government's Guide to TCPA Rules
- A U.S. Government Web Page Featuring The Truth About Cell Phones
- A Guide To Stopping Unwanted Telemarketing Calls
- More Federal Government Info Electronic Code of Federal Regulations