FCC’s new rules abound: Should telemarketers be worried?

Adding more fuel to its already singeing reign of fire, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rolled out its new set of telemarketing regulations which had been in effect since October 16. As covered by its Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), the commission mandated the requirement that businesses, prior to placing telemarketing calls, must obtain a written consent from its recipients to validate its approval of supposedly “annoying” marketing tactics.

Naturally, this new order stirred the marketing community as to what extent its effects, if any, will be on traditional methods used for lead generation.

Written consent defined

As stated in FCC’s official website, the term prior express written consent means “an agreement, in writing, bearing the signature of the person called that clearly authorizes the seller to deliver or cause to be delivered to the person called advertisements or telemarketing messages using an automatic telephone dialing system or an artificial or prerecorded voice.

The regulation does not clearly provide a suggested means of securing such consent, so marketers will most likely make up their own strategies to acquire these “signatures”, defined by the act as “an electronic or digital form of signature to the extent that such form of signature is recognized as a valid signature under applicable federal law or state contract law.”

Effects on telemarketing

While this doesn’t directly impinge on traditional telemarketing practices, the impact will likely zero-in on small to midsized businesses (SMBs). The way these companies carry out their lead generation campaigns is based on volume, thus they normally have the reason to rely on automation to do their bidding.

With the advent of this new rule, however, they would be forced to acquire additional manpower for lead generation, which of course may jeopardize their budget stability.

The fall of “established business relationships”

The heavy price for this new mandate comes in form most valued by telemarketers: relationships. Businesses can no longer cite “established business relationships” as a reason for artificial or prerecorded voice calls to consumer lines. In short, even if you’re sending marketing messages to your 5-year clientele, you would still need to secure a written consent, which would certainly give rise to issues of time and resources.

This is sad considering that the older version of the mandate made an exemption for these types of calls when “made to any person with whom the caller has an established business relationship at the time of the call.” That’s all going down the drain.

Failure to abide by these new rules will result to a $500-$1500 fine for each unsolicited call or message. See the full provision at apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7520946817