Can You Fully Trust Your Prospects?

Posted: October 30, 2015

trustAre you placing too much trust in your prospects? Maybe. In today’s regulatory environment, knowing the number type, wireless or landline, is extremely important. Some companies rely on their prospects to “self-identify” their number type when they provide their contact information. If consumers are your source for wireless/landline status of phone numbers, read on to find out why this can be an issue and how you can restore trust in your lead and customer contact information.

Consider this scenario:



The form

  • Your company has an inquiry form with required “Home Phone” and “Mobile Phone” fields. For many consumers, particularly millennials, their mobile phone is their home phone number as most do not have a landline connected at their home for personal use. Therefore, they may inaccurately enter their mobile in the home field, or even both fields.
  • The form does not grant express written consent. To call a wireless number with an automated telephone dialing system (ATDS) for telemarketing purposes, express written consent is required.


The assumptions

  • The “Mobile Phone” numbers are wireless. You’ll call those manually.
  • The “Home Phone” numbers are landlines. Dialing with an ATDS is acceptable as long, as the DNC rules are considered. To add an additional layer of complexity, the recent declaratory ruling from the FCC made important changes to the interpretations of manual/automated dialing systems (here’s a link to the white paper addressing the ruling’s key elements). If you’re dialing with an unverified dialing system, we recommend expert verification.

This scenario is perfect for an opportunistic professional plaintiff that seeks out web forms that don’t grant express written consent, fills them out with a known wireless number, and waits to be called with an ATDS.

The hard truth is that blindly trusting the consumer to accurately divulge the number status can be dangerous with the increasing popularity of TCPA class actions. This year we have encountered companies that have obtained lists they assume are free of wireless numbers, only for us to analyze the list and find it has a substantial amount of mobile numbers inaccurately identified as landlines. One of the companies had a web form where consumers self-identified a number as wireless or residential. Don’t let this be your company!

To increase the confidence that you’re not unintentionally calling mobile numbers and stumbling into a potential TCPA class action lawsuit, we recommend accessing the Wireless Block Identifier and one of the available Ported Number lists to appropriately identify wireless numbers. Accessing these lists allows you to make the informed decision to suppress wireless numbers or contact them with an alternate method. These lists are also critical if your company may call a number more than 15 days after the consent was obtained-the FCC provides a 15 day safe harbor to identify a number that is now wireless and to dial it appropriately.

Just last week the FCC announced it would release to the public, on a weekly basis, the detailed complaint data on unwanted prerecorded messages or “robocalls” and telemarketing calls from its Consumer Help Center. Utilizing the lists mentioned above could reduce your risk of complaints and the chance your company’s calls are filtered or blocked before they ever reach the consumer.

If you’d like more information on wireless number identification, determining the status of your dialing system, or any other topics mentioned here, please reach out to us at consulting@compliancepoint.com.

 

Mark Baker

Author: Mark Baker

Mark Baker, a Consultant at CompliancePoint, focuses on providing accurate and relevant compliance consultation on US federal and state consumer contact requirements to clients in a variety of industries. He assists clients with mitigating the risks associated with direct marketing by helping to refine the processes and procedures necessary to comply with consistently changing and complex consumer contact requirements. Mark earned his Customer Engagement Compliance Professional (CECP) certification from the Professional Association for Customer Engagement (PACE) and received his M.S. in Biology from Georgia State University, where he gained extensive experience researching complex topics.

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