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The Rules of Telemarketing to Cellphones

May 12, 2016
By Laura Stotler - Telemarketing Software Contributing Editor


I receive an average of two telemarketing calls to my cellphone each day. My number is on the national Do Not Call registry and has been for years, but the calls persist. I’ve tried blocking the numbers, answering (usually it’s a robo call with a recorded message) and ignoring the calls, all to no avail.


This issue is pervasive among wireless users and it’s important to understand the rules and laws surrounding telemarketing to cellphone numbers, which differ from landline rules. A recent article posted by Water Technology examines telemarketing to cellphones and what is legal and acceptable from a business perspective.

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 allows auto dialing to cellphones, as long as there is prior express consent. This includes the use of predictive dialers and calls related to surveys and opinion research, and applies to interstate and intrastate calls as well as calls outside the U.S. The definition of “consent,” in this case, can include instances where the recipient’s cellphone number was given as a point of contact.

There is no separate Do Not Call list for wireless numbers, but cellphone numbers may always be added to the national Do Not Call registry. Wireless users can call 888-382-1222 from the number they wish to add and callers are required to stop telemarketing to that number within 30 days of being added. The number will also remain on the registry until the wireless subscriber cancels it or service to that number is discontinued.

Despite being on the registry, cellphone subscribers can expect to continue receiving calls from five main categories. These include companies they have had some sort of relationship with during the past 18 months, which can legally telemarket to subscribers for that time period even after the relationship has ended. Political parties and other organizations looking for votes are also legally able to call wireless subscribers.

Other legal telemarketing calls to cellphones include organizations taking a survey, even if it leads to a sales call, charitable organizations and scammers operating outside the U.S. who willingly break the law.

Organizations operating within the guidelines of the law should try to be respectful about the times they are calling wireless subscribers and how often they are making calls. On the subscriber side, caller ID is perhaps the most valuable asset for dodging and screening calls from unknown numbers.




Edited by Rory J. Thompson



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