FTC Gives Guidance with Regard to Company-Specific DNC Lists - in the Form of a Lawsuit!

Summary

What, exactly, constitutes a company-specific “do-not-call” request? While the FTC and FCC previously stated that any form of a request is valid, neither agency has issued much guidance to answer the question. The guidance has come in the form of a lawsuit, filed against the Americall Group, for “interfer[ing] with entity-specific do-not-call requests.”

Article

The company-specific or “internal” “do-not-call” provisions of the Telemarketing Sales Rule are simple:

“It is … a violation of this rule for a telemarketer to … [initiate] any outbound telephone call to a person when: that person previously has stated he or she does not wish to receive an outbound telephone call made by or on behalf of a seller….” 16 C.F.R. § 310.4(b)(1).

While the FTC and FCC have stated that any form of a request is valid, neither agency has issued much guidance with regard to what, exactly, constitutes a company-specific “do-not-call” request in a normal conversation where a consumer may give an equivocal or otherwise unclear response … until now. 

In Unites States of America v. Americall Group, the FTC sued a third party phone room alleging that a company specifically trained its representatives to ignore company-specific “do-not-call” requests noting that:

Defendant trains Americall representatives to interfere with entity-specific do-not-call requests. Defendant’s training manual instructs Americall representatives that, absent additional information, a consumer who responds to a call from Americall saying, “Don’t call again,” “Don’t call me back,” or “I do not accept solicitation call [sic],” should not be placed on the entity-specific do-not-call list of the seller on whose behalf Americall is calling. Complaint, ¶ 18.

The Complaint also alleged failure to transmit proper caller identification information and the company recently settled with the FTC for $500,000.

You would be wise to review your training materials to ensure that they specifically teach that any form of a request not to be called is valid and that your employee’s actions are consistent with that training.