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Before you pick up that phone to make an unsolicited call to a potential customer, be sure you've done your homework. A mistake could cost you up to $16,000 in Federal fines, plus potential state penalties.
Coming up on it’s tenth anniversary, this portion of the Telemarketing Sales Rule prohibits businesses from calling individuals who have registered their phone number in the national Do Not Call (DNC) registry.
Here are some common questions about DNC from the Federal Trade Commission’s website, business.ftc.gov1:
- What’s covered? Any plan, program or campaign to sell goods or services through interstate phone calls. Includes calls by telemarketers who solicit on your behalf. Also included are sellers who offer to provide goods or services to consumers.
- Can I call my current customers? If your company has an established business relationship, you may call for up to 18 months after the consumer’s last purchase, delivery or payment. Current customers may ask at any time that you not call them again and you must honor the request.
- Where can I check before I call? Businesses can register at telemarketing.donotcall.gov. That allows you to download phone numbers by area code. An annual fee is charged based on the number of area codes accessed. There’s an Interactive Phone Number Search that helps smaller volume callers comply.
Following Do Not Call regulations is an important part of your lead generation efforts. Not only does it help you avoid penalties, it respects prospective customers’ preferences and will ultimately produce better results.
For information, go to the Do Not Call Registry website at: www.telemarketing.donotcall.gov.
1 Federal Trade Commission. Q&A for Telemarketers and Sellers about DNC Provisions in TSR, Bureau of Consumer Protection Business Center, 2009, business.ftc.gov/documents/alt129-qa-telemarketers-sellers-about-dnc-provisions-tsr.