Last year, call centers and lead gen teams got a bit of good news when the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its ruling in the case of Facebook v. Duguid, making it more difficult for plaintiffs to successfully file suits under the TCPA.
But since that ruling, things have taken a turn. In addition to TCPA compliance, businesses need to be more and more mindful of state enacted “mini-TCPA” compliance laws.
Over the last year, individual states have been passing their own telemarketing regulations, bringing new restrictions and added complexity for call centers. The Florida mini-TCPA, which went into effect in June of 2021, was the first of these laws passed after the Facebook ruling. Now, Oklahoma and Washington have entered the fray, enacting their own similar laws—and businesses everywhere need to take notice.
From the perspective of someone who makes it his business to keep up with and analyze all things call center compliance, the Czar of TCPA World Eric Troutman says, “It’s pretty awful the way the state laws are proliferating…the patchwork just isn’t lining up.”
Following in Florida’s Footsteps: Oklahoma’s Own Mini-TCPA
On May 20, 2022, Oklahoma’s Telephone Solicitation Act (TSA) of 2022 was signed into law. Attorney David O. Klein calls it, “in many ways, a carbon copy” of the Florida mini-TCPA. Over at TCPAWorld.com, expert Eric Troutman calls it “one of the fiercest” state telemarketing laws in the nation. Here’s the biggest things the bill does:
- Like the Florida law, it expands the TCPA’s definition of automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS). As the attorneys at Manatt write, this means the law’s restrictions likely apply even to systems that “do not randomly or sequentially generate numbers but that do have some automated method of selection (linking a live person to an agent) or dialing (system dials then links to an agent).”
- Also like the Florida law, it restricts calls and messages to no more than 3 attempts within a 24-hour period, including to customers who have given prior express written consent. Importantly, all calls must take place between 8:00am and 8:00pm. Prior to the law’s enactment, calls were allowed until 9:00pm.
- The law enables a private right of action and awards penalties of $500 per violation and up to $1,500 per willful violation.
The Oklahoma TSA’s provisions will take effect on November 1, 2022 and will upend the way businesses contact customers and leads in the state. In the months ahead, call centers will need to work closely with counsel to implement compliance programs that accommodate these new changes.
Catch our interview with Eric Troutman on the Berman v. Freedom Financial Network: The Court Ruling that ‘May Change Everything’ for Lead Generation
What’s in Washington’s H.B. 1497?
Meanwhile, Washington passed their own sweeping telemarketing regulations, contained in House Bill (H.B.) 1497, which already went into effect on June 9, 2022. Provisions include the following:
- Callers must identify themselves within 30 seconds of the start.
- They must end calls within 10 seconds of being asked not to call.
- They must honor all “indications” that the called party no longer wants to receive calls. (To quote Eric Troutman: “What does that even mean??”)
- After such an “indication,” callers must tell recipients that calls will stop for at least one year and then abide by this timeline.
- Contacts are limited to between 8:00am and 8:00pm.
The good news for telemarketers: the new law is not as restrictive as those in Florida and Oklahoma. The bad news: the rules do not match any other jurisdiction’s, giving business a whole new set of hoops to jump through that are entirely unique to Washington State.
This barrage of new laws can be a lot to take in. Especially when there’s as much ambiguity to sort through as there is in H.B. 1497. That’s why we sat down with TCPA expert and attorney Eric Troutman to get some legal insights on what the Washington Mini-TCPA law means for call centers. Watch his Q&A with Convoso’s Lisa Leight to dig deeper into the contents of the law and find out how your business can respond.
Do more to support compliance with these TCPA best practices for call centers.