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Clearing Up the Misconception of Telemarketing Software & Automated Calling

March 09, 2010
By David Sims - Telemarketing Software Contributing Editor


There are all kinds of misinformation and misunderstanding out there about automated calling and telemarketing software. Let’s clear up a few based on information from the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.


The issue’s back in the news: Recently the Federal Communications Commission has proposed regulations requiring those under its jurisdiction to follow the same rules the Federal Trade Commission imposed on telemarketing calls in 2008, according to the Delco Times: “If adopted, the changes to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act would limit the use of prerecorded calls and automatic telephone dialing systems.”

The Do Not Call Registry is maintained by the Federal Trade Commission, and telemarketers must update their lists with new registrants every month. A phone number will stay on the Do Not Call Registry for five years – unless you ask for your number to be removed from the list, or until you change your phone number.

There are exceptions to the Do Not Call list charities, surveys, researchers, political campaigns (you didn’t really think politicians would pass a law they had to live under, did you?), companies with which you have a business relationship or have made an inquiry or application and companies to which you have given written consent to remain on their calling list whether you were aware of it or not – often when you borrow money the fine print in the contract gives debt collectors the right to call you for repayment.

Both federal and state law may cover recorded message calls, PRC says: “The federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act prohibits a telemarketer from placing a call to a residence using a prerecorded message unless the called party gives express consent or the call is for emergency purposes.”

Again, there are exceptions – the requirement does not apply to calls that are made for a commercial purpose such as from one business to another or to those with whom the company has an established business relationship at the time the call is made. Tax-exempt nonprofit organizations are also usually exempt.

And yes, it is currently illegal for marketers using auto-dialers to call cell phone numbers.

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Kelly McGuire



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