Making Automated Calls Without Violating Compliance Regulations

Requirements for Making Automated Robo-Calls
Many small to medium sized companies, whose business involves consumer financing, want to use automated calls, commonly called robo-calls, to contact customers about their accounts.

The ability to make automated calls is a feature in BellesLink. Because of this, we are often asked what’s required to stay in compliance with federal, state, and local laws. So, we’ve put together an overview of common requirements for making an automated, or robocall, to your customer.

At BellesLink, we track regulatory issues closely in order to provide useful information to our customers. This overview was written by Elizabeth Lewis, a business lawyer practicing in Denver, Colorado.

Consult An Attorney

This is not intended to be legal advice. Your company may, or may not, be governed by consumer finance and tele-communication regulations such as the TCPA, the TSR, and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Consult an attorney to determine which federal, state, and laws and regulations apply to your business.

Making Automated Calls

Businesses involved in consumer finance most often want to make automated calls to pre-existing customers who have past-due accounts or to customers whose collateral is being repossessed.

A typical pre-recorded call might sound similar to this:

“Hello. This is [Your Company Name] calling. We need to speak to you regarding your account. Please press 1 to be connected to us now. Or call us immediately at this number XXX-XXX-XXXX. Thank you.”

Protecting Your Customer and Company

When making automated calls, we suggest your company meet the requirements listed below. This list may not include every requirement for your company. It will, though, give you clearer idea of the steps you should take to protect your customers and your company.

Consult an attorney to determine which regulations apply to your business.

Automated Call Requirements

1. Your company will need to have documentation available showing that there is a pre-existing business relationship with the owner of each number that is called and that the individual provided express written consent to be called through automated calls and/or prerecorded messages.

Here’s an example of opt-in language for written customer consent to be contacted by automated calls.

You agree and consent to be contacted by the Company, our agents, employees, attorneys, affiliates, subsequent creditors, loan servicing companies, and third-party collectors through the use of email, and/or telephone calls and/or SMS text messages to your cellular phone number, including the use of automatic telephone dialing systems, autodialers, or an artificial or prerecorded voice.

Calls can only be made to the phone number listed on the credit application. If your company wishes to call any additional numbers, it will need to have written authorization to call the additional numbers through automated calls and/or prerecorded messages.

2. If the original prior written consent was given for a landline, for any calls to a cell phone, your company must show that there is clear and express written consent to place automated calls/prerecorded messages to the new cell phone number.

3. The automated calls cannot be made before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.

4. Your company will need to check phone numbers it calls against national databases that have information about changed phone numbers. If the databases show that the number has been reassigned, the number will need to be removed from your database.

5. Your company will need to remove any wrong numbers within one call to the wrong number if the number wasn’t listed in the re-assigned call database.

6. In the pre-recorded message, your company will need to offer the option for customers to be removed from future calls by pressing a number (i.e. Press 1 to speak with a representative, press 2 to be removed from future calls) and have phone number customers can call to be removed if they don’t want to press 2 (or whatever number) at the time of the call.

7. Your company will need a written policy about how individuals are added to a company specific do not call list. If anyone asks to be removed, the individual needs to be removed from future calls. You also need to ensure that there are no obstacles to being removed – i.e. you can’t require someone only mail them to be removed.

8. Your company must not sell any additional services during the call either on the message or when answered by a real person.

This overview of automated call compliance requirements isn’t exhaustive. It’s just a guideline for your business. Of course, with future changes to the laws, there may be additional requirements needed to protect your business. Again, consult an attorney to learn which laws and regulations apply to you.