Telephone Consumer Protection Act makes prerecorded telemarketing a risky business
An Oregon company has reportedly found itself haled into a Pennsylvania court, accused by one local plaintiff there of violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”), 47 U.S.C. § 227. An online story published this week by PennRecord reports that Responsenow Inc., a Portland company that offers medical alarm systems, “allegedly used an automatic telephone dialing system to call the plaintiff for unsolicited advertising.”
The TCPA restricts the making of telemarketing calls and the use of automatic telephone dialing systems and artificial or prerecorded voice messages. The complaint in the above case should serve as a reminder of the importance of TCPA compliance for companies whose sales strategies include telephonic contact with consumers. Under the TCPA, with some exceptions, lawfully placing prerecorded telemarketing calls to residential lines requires securing prior express written consent. (Calls that are live rather than prerecorded have to comply with the Do-Not-Call rules).
Telemarketers cannot rely on established business relationships to avoid the need for express consent from those called on home phones. They must also provide an automated, interactive “opt-out” mechanism during each robocall so consumers can immediately tell the telemarketer to stop calling. The TCPA grants consumers a private right of action with potential remedies including injunctions and money damages of up to $500 for each violation.
Takeaway: Brands considering telemarketing and robocalls in their marketing strategies should engage legal counsel at the earliest stages of campaign development to review TCPA compliance issues and help avoid potential violations. Questions about the TCPA or other legal issues related to advertising or brand marketing? Contact the firm. Inspiration Spaceship is a boutique Portland creative law practice focused on the legal needs of the brand communications industry.