TCPA & Call Center Compliance Trends for 2024: Complexity Grows with State mini-TCPAs, Privacy Laws, and FCC Ruling
December 8, 2023 | Convoso
TCPA compliance and optimal performance go hand in hand these days. And with an increasing number of regulatory hoops to jump through, managing a successful and compliant outbound call center only gets more and more complex.
Make sure that this year is your lead gen and sales team’s best yet by staying on top of the call center compliance trends and outbound calling laws shaping the landscape. Inside this comprehensive guide to TCPA compliance in 2024, you’ll find:
- A review of the state telemarketing and privacy regulations taking effect and driving compliance considerations in 2024 and beyond
- An overview of the landmark FCC “Lead Gen Loophole” ruling set to shape the new year
- The best ways to manage TCPA compliance risk in 2024
This article is part of the series, “2024 Outbound Contact Center Trends,“ helping you stay current with issues, technologies, best practices, and strategies that impact your business. Our aim is to provide tools and guidance that will improve productivity, efficiency, and ultimately profitability for your sales and lead generation team.
2023 in Review: The Biggest Developments in TCPA & Outbound Calling Regulations
To understand where TCPA compliance is heading—and to know how your business needs to respond—it’s critical to know just what’s unfolded in the recent past. Read below to see which 2023 changes to outbound calling regulations will have ramifications in 2024 and beyond.
Call Centers Contend with More Mini-TCPAs on the Books
Following the passage of Florida’s 2021 mini-TCPA, states like Oklahoma and Washington followed in their footsteps, passing their own similar laws. With no intervening action at the federal level, this trend continued into 2023, with a number of states passing their own laws, including these prominent changes:
Arizona passed House Bill 2498 in April, which took immediate effect. The bill added text messaging to the state’s existing laws on telemarketing.
Connecticut passed Senate Bill 1058, which amended existing outbound calling regulations to include some of the strictest rules in the country. Taking effect on October 1, 2023, among other things, the act requires sales callers to disclose their identity, the purpose of the call, and the identity of the entity on whose behalf they’re calling within 10 seconds of the call’s initiation. The caller must then ask if the recipient wishes to continue the call. Crucially, if the consumer states that they do not wish to receive future calls callers must:
- Inform the consumer that their consumer’s contact information will be removed from the list
- End telephonic sales call not later than ten seconds after such consumer expresses such wish
- Refrain from making any additional sales calls to the consumer at any telephone number associated with the consumer
- Not give or sell the consumer’s name, telephone number, other contact information or personally identifying information to any other entity, or receive anything of value from any other entity in exchange for the consumer’s name, telephone number, other contact information or personally identifying information.
Maryland Governor Wes Moore signed the Stop the Spam Calls Act of 2023 into law, which will take effect on January 1, 2024. Key provisions include a limit of 3 calls per 24-hour period on the same matter or issue, regardless of number; a restriction of calls to 8 AM to 8 PM; a broad definition of autodialer that mirrors the 2021 Florida mini-TCPA law; and a penalty of up to $2,500 per violation.
New York amended its telemarketing law in September 13, 2023, increasing penalties for DNC violations from $11,000 per violation to up to $20,000. The change is already in effect.
Washington enacted a sweeping new telemarketing law for the second year running. HB1051 made a number of alterations to its state’s outbound calling laws, including:
- Creating a private right of action, enabling consumers to sue with penalties of $1,000 per violation.
- Changing the state’s DNC restrictions to track with the federal law and registry
- Expanding its definition of “automatic dialing and announcing device”
These new laws could create some real headaches for businesses making outbound calls in these states. What’s more, however, is the complexity created by them in the aggregate.
As TCPA expert and attorney Eric J. Troutman describes it, all of these separate, state-by-state laws are creating a patchwork—and that patchwork just isn’t lining up.
With an increasingly wide variety of mismatched requirements and rules, doing business and supporting compliance in multiple locations is becoming more and more complex. And unfortunately, as we discuss below, it doesn’t appear like that’s going to change in 2024.
States Also Pass a Spate of Privacy Laws
In addition to state laws regulating outbound calling, a number of state legislatures have also been busy passing privacy laws that will take effect—or continuing effecting businesses—in 2024. To date, 12 comprehensive privacy laws have been passed:
- Laws in California, Virginia, Colorado, and Connecticut are already in effect
- On these dates, additional laws will take effect:
- December 31, 2023: Utah
- Mid-2024 – Texas, Oregon, and Montana
- 2025 – Iowa, Delaware, and Tennessee
- 2026 – Indiana
Luckily, as legal experts from Mac Murray & Shuster laid out during one of our regular quarterly Ahead of the Curve webinars, none of these laws include a private right of action. Moreover, the programs organizations may have in place to comply laws already in effect, such as in California, can be used to comply with the upcoming laws.
The FCC Upends Lead Generation Industry with Ruling Late in Year
After many months of speculation and attention, the FCC rounded out the year by taking action to crack down on what the agency considers an overreach by lead generators. Closing the so-called “Lead Gen Loophole,” the FCC proposed a rule that will require lead generators to obtain consumer consent on a one-to-one basis. Moreover, under the proposed rule:
- Obtaining consent for a hyperlinked list of sellers not named is likely no longer acceptable, whereas providing a list of sellers that consumers can affirmatively separately select in order to be contact is likely to still be acceptable given certain standards are followed
- One-to-one consent must come after a clear and conspicuous disclosure to the consumer stating that they will be receiving texts or calls from the relevant seller
- Robotexts and robocalls that result from consent obtained on comparison websites must be logically and topically related to that website
The rule, expected to pass at the FCC’s December 13, 2023 open meeting, would go into effect as soon as July 2024.
While the decision is intended to put an end to unethical practices of bad actors in the lead gen space, there’s no escaping that the FCC’s move ultimately harm businesses whose revenue relies on various types of third-party leads—leads which they assert have been obtained legitimately and in good faith.
As we’ll discuss in further depth below, taking action in the first half of 2024 in order to ensure compliance with these changes—as well as pivot toward sustainable, reliable lead generation strategies—will be critical for all effected by the coming change.
Best Ways to Manage TCPA Compliance Risk in 2024
With all of these changes afoot and yet more unforeseen events sure to take place in 2024, successful leaders will need to keep outbound call compliance top-of-mind. Here are some of the best ways to manage compliance risks for your company in the current climate:
1. Use a Dialer Designed—and Updated—with Compliance in Mind
When it comes to TCPA compliance solutions for outbound call centers, your software platform is your greatest asset. To stay competitive in 2024, you need a dialer that supports TCPA compliance and helps optimize every area of your sales or lead generation operation.
Your contact center software provider should diligently stay abreast of updates and trends in TCPA regulations to minimize risk to customers. The dialer system should enable responsible dialing strategies (see below). Plus, on the type of leads you are calling and the consent associated with those leads, you may want to consider a system that also offers a manual dialing solution, like Convoso’s Click-to-Comply™ product.
Of course, as we covered earlier, call center compliance issues extend well beyond the reach of the federal TCPA. That’s why your dialer should offer state-level compliance support. And that’s why Convoso offers its users the StateTracker™ tool, the only purpose-built solution for supporting compliance with state “mini-TCPA” laws.
2. Use a lead fraud detection tool
In addition to potential fines, violations of TCPA rules are resulting in increased class action lawsuits. Beyond dollars and cents, failure to comply with the TCPA can damage your brand’s reputation and waste valuable resources if your sales team tries to contact potential customers who did not actually ask for the call. However, it’s not simply about brand reputation and consent.
Fake leads have become a major problem in the lead generation space. Fraudsters gain access to a real individual’s contact information and use it to fill out phony leads or sign-ups. Our friends at Anura.io have a great solution that works within your existing framework. Learn more here about Anura’s approach to fraud detection.
3. Implement Smart Dialing Strategies and Caller ID Reputation Management
“Over-dialing your leads is the biggest problem,” says Nima Hakimi, Convoso CEO & Co-Founder:
“Your contact rates will just go down. It’s a failing strategy. We really want to make sure everybody truly understands it will no longer work. You [also] need to have a system in place that can automate that lead follow-up process in a manner that doesn’t abuse the consumer and call them to death. [Then], you won’t be in the position where you’re over-dialing and your calls get blocked.”
In 2024 and beyond, it’s increasingly essential to avoid call blocking and flagging. Make sure your dialer supports smart dialing strategies and offers caller ID reputation management tools. Convoso customer Jesse Daniels, VP Sales at One Health Direct, describes this as one of the biggest issues for large outbound call centers:
“We’re making a million outbound calls a day. I read a statistic lately that there’s about a 6% chance that someone’s going to pick up the phone if they see “Spam likely”. So if that’s showing up on their cell phones, they are not picking up the phones. And if people are not picking up the phones, I can’t make money and I can’t keep my business afloat. And I can’t keep the 500 employees that we have nationwide employed. So that’s huge.”
4. Develop a Sound AI Compliance Foundation
Call center AI solutions are creating a lot of excitement—and rightly so. Technologies like intelligent virtual agents have the potential to unlock incredible gains in efficiency. However, with each new technology comes potential new questions around compliance and risk.
During a webinar on the subject, expert attorney Michele Shuster of Mac Murray & Shuster said that, for now, many of the primary concerns around AI and contact center compliance remain the same as they have been. Those using AI need to ensure their solutions comply with restrictions on the use of automatic telephone dialing systems (ATDS) as well as rules around the use of prerecorded voice: For now, Shuster says, organizations should take a conservative approach and assume that calls using artificial voice technologies will be treated as prerecorded voice messages.
In addition, organizations using artificial intelligence in order to help support compliance should evaluate their solutions to ensure they comply with the following checks:
- Disclosures: Can your AI system consistently deliver the proper disclosures mandated by federal and state law? Not to mention industry-specific requirements such as in Medicare marketing.
- Call time restrictions: Can your system be calibrated to call only within allowable times? Beyond the federally mandated calling hours of 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM, systems need to be able to comply with different state calling restrictions that have emerged.
- Registration requirements: Some states may require registration for the use of automatic dialing and announcing systems, which Shuster says may include AI-enabled systems.
- Unlisted numbers: Many states prohibit calls to unlisted phone numbers. Do you have a means of scrubbing those numbers from your lists?
- Disconnect requirements: Is your system able to disconnect in time after a call is terminated and meet requirements?
- Caller ID types: What type of caller IDs does the system use?
5. Look to Pivot Ahead of Big Changes in Lead Generation
As we look ahead to the second half of 2024, the coming changes to rules around third-party lead generation loom large. Before the FCC’s proposed rules take effect, businesses need to create an action plan that helps them successfully pivot while supporting compliance.
This means, as Eric Troutman has discussed, investing in drive-to-site campaigns that generate quality, first-party leads, as well as exploring partnerships with BPOs to help you add or handle the added scale at the speed that will be required over the coming months.
In the meantime, teams should also assess their partners and lead providers to ensure that they are maintaining compliance themselves.
6. Enlist Expertise and Assess Your Risks
“As you move into the future, with things coming at you from different angles every day, the need for expertise is more prevalent than ever before,” says Eric Troutman.
That means having the best tools in place to support compliance, even beyond your dialer software. A recent LeadsCon panel recommended implementing TrustedForm from ActiveProspect as a great way to support compliance—and, in case you need to, prove that you’ve obtained customer consent.
Enlisting expertise also means obtaining top legal counsel. Getting attorneys on your side who can not only advise on legal issues but aid in audits and risk assessments is essential for supporting compliance, in 2024 and beyond.
DISCLAIMER: The information on this page and related links is provided for general education purposes only and is not legal advice. Convoso does not guarantee the accuracy or appropriateness of this information to your situation. You are solely responsible for using Convoso’s services in a legally compliant way and should consult your legal counsel for compliance advice. Any quotes are solely the views of the quoted person and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Convoso.
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