Nothing concentrates the mind like an imminent deadline.
Although new requirements for Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) compliance were announced in February 2012, the Oct. 16, 2013 deadline for implementation has many marketers and compliance officers scrambling for a proof of consent solution for their internet leads.
If you fall into that category, don’t despair, and certainly don’t panic. You have options for coming into compliance quickly and easily.
First, let’s do a quick review of the new requirements – because it is a big deal. On October 16, new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations take effect that will require telemarketers to capture and store “prior express written consent” for certain types of commercial phone calls and text messages. Among other things, the new rules require that marketers have prior express written consent before using autodialer equipment, prerecorded messages, or text messages to contact customers on their cell phones. The “established business relationship” exception on which many telemarketers have relied in the past, no longer applies.
Consumers have a “private right of action” to sue violators directly, with penalties ranging from $500 to $1,500 per unsolicited call or message. This could take the form of individual suits in small claims courts or massive class action suits. The statute of limitations for filing TCPA suits is five years, so telemarketers will be at risk if they don’t store proof of consent for that length of time.
Obtaining Consent Is the Key to Compliance
With authoritative proof of prior express written consent, there is no need to determine the type of phone number provided or change the type of system used to dial the number. However, creating a reliable, consistent system for capturing proper consent that will hold up under legal scrutiny presents a significant challenge, a challenge ActiveProspect began solving in 2010 with the introduction of TrustedForm.
Whenever a website visitor submits a form, TrustedForm issues an individual certificate of authenticity that independently verifies the origin of that lead. It works by adding the TrustedForm script to web pages where leads are collected. The script then issues a TrustedForm Certificate for every lead generated from that site. This certificate is a virtual document that provides critical evidence of prior express written consent for each lead. Each TrustedForm Certificate can be accessed by a unique URL.
Every TrustedForm Certificate includes:
• The date and time of the consumer’s visit.
• The visitor’s IP address, browser software and computer operating system.
• The URL of the webpage where the form appeared.
• A real-time screenshot of what the visitor actually saw on the form page.
• A full copy of the HTML and images for that visit.
Screenshots of how these individual elements appear in an actual certificate are available on SlideShare.
Easy as 1-2-3
While the new TCPA rules are numerous and complicated, the steps for getting proof of consent compliance started by Oct. 16 are few and pretty simple:
• Read the whitepaper “Consent to Call? Internet Leads and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act” by telemarketing and internet marketing law firm Klein Moynihan Turko LLP.
• Generate a real-time proof of consent certificate with a TrustedForm demo to see what authoritative proof of consent looks like.
• Contact us to discuss a free, no-obligation TrustedForm trial and get your TCPA compliance process for internet leads up and running. Just call (512) 371-6511, or complete an online inquiry form.
Wait-and-see is not a viable strategy at this point. With visions of hard-to-defend class action suits dancing in their heads, plaintiff lawyers are prepared for Oct. 16.