Some of you may already be familiar with TCPA as it’s been in our social circle for over 20 years now. Passed into law in 1991, it empowered the FCC to issue rules and regulations to protect consumers from those uninvited sales and telemarketing calls we all hate receiving. Among other things, it brought us the Do Not Call Registry in 2003 and it allows individuals to file lawsuits and collect damages for receiving unsolicited calls. The newest regulations from TCPA go into effect in October of this year and will impact you – keep reading to learn more about the new regulations, how you can stay compliant as well as how to protect your distribution and your consumers.
Newest TCPA Regulations
Effective October 16th 2013, a consumer must give express written consent to receive sales calls or text messages on their cell phone. The regulation specifically states that consumer consent is required when a company will be using an autodialer to contact the customer or will be leaving a pre-recorded message.
Think you can stop reading this article here because you don’t call out on your leads? Think again! Your downstream buyers are calling out on your leads and since the consumer is completing the form on your site you are responsible for obtaining their consent to be called. Also, the majority of the carriers and lead buyers in the space do use an autodialer to call on those leads they’ve purchased from you. The autodialer allows carriers to quickly and efficiently call consumers, ensuring that they reach as many consumers as possible and maximize policy sales, enabling them to pay more for your leads.
How You Can Stay Compliant
Don’t fear, neither the original nor the new TCPA regulations are intended to prevent you from making a living, but rather to set guidelines to ensure your consumer’s rights are respected at all times. Here’s what you need to do to stay compliant.
- Add opt-in language to your form, allowing the consumer to give consent to be contacted via their cell phone
- Maintain records of all consumer consents
- Provide your lead buying partners with a copy/screen shots of your opt-in language
- Clearly identify the phone fields on your form as ‘home’, ‘work’ or ‘cell’
- Capture, store and pass certain lead data to your buyers such as consumer IP, lead born on/create date and time, or LeadiD
- Document the above process, creating an official policy on what you have done to stay compliant
- Keep an audit log to track adherence to your policy
It’s critical to pass the necessary data points to your buyers in order to maintain a strong distribution for your leads. Once these regulations go into place, certain carriers will only be able to accept leads if they contain those key fields. By including those fields, you will maximize your exposure to buyers, ensuring optimal conversion and revenue.
Tracking adherence to your policy is also important should a consumer choose to challenge a carrier’s right to contact them. You’ll need to be able to prove that the consumer gave consent, as fines for violating the regulations start at $500 per call. We all know it’s easy for a consumer to receive 15 or more calls from various agents and insurance carriers, which would quickly add up to a fine of $7,500+!
There’s a lot of speculation about the impact this will have to our industry. Overall, we hope this will help to increase lead quality and contact rate, as those who opt in to be contacted are likely to provide the correct phone number. Lead buyers will spend less time calling on leads with bogus numbers, which will make your leads worth more.
Your Moss Account Manager will be reaching out to you in the coming weeks with specifics on next steps. Our goal is to make these changes as easy to implement for you as possible, so that when these regulations do go into place the only impact you will feel is a positive one. If you have any questions at all in the meantime please don’t hesitate to reach out to your Account Manager. If you are interested in learning more, here is a great resource.