Posted: February 22, 2016
It happens to the best of us – we think everything is going well, and then all of a sudden they’re telling us not to call them anymore, they’ve moved on. And suddenly we’re left scrambling for answers. Where do you go from there? Although this may seem like a common scene for a break-up, this is something marketers and sales people often experience when their customers and prospects revoke consent or opt out of further communication.
Lately, there has been a lot of buzz about consent. We’ve been hit with legislation telling us we need different kinds of consent to talk to our customers and prospects, how long consent lasts, how we’re allowed to use it, and more.
While consent keeps us out of trouble and allows us to do business as usual, there has been less talk about what needs to be done when a consumer revokes their consent.
While we love our current and potential customers and hate to see them go, the FTC requires us to honor their request and end the relationship on good terms. Failure to do so could result in hefty fines and enforcement actions. Who knows, maybe they’ll be back one day.
To make letting go just a bit little easier, we’ve decided to give a crash course on how to properly break up with your consumers. Below are the different ways to handle consumer opt-outs.
The TCPA rules require that the sender of fax advertisements provide specified notice and contact information on the first page of the fax that allows the recipients to opt out of future faxes. The sender must also inform the consumer that it is unlawful for them not to honor the opt-out request within 30 days.
Telephone DNC Request:
Telemarketing opt-outs, also known as Do Not Call (DNC) requests, have a few more requirements. First, if you call a consumer, they should be able to request to be added to the DNC list during that conversation. Likewise, if a consumer makes an inbound call, someone answering the phone should be able to process a DNC request, or transfer them to someone who can. If a consumer calls in after hours, they should be able to submit a DNC request on an answering machine that is regularly checked, or they should be sent to an automated opt-out that is capable of accepting their DNC request as soon as possible, but not exceeding 30 days. However, if calls are placed to wireless numbers using via equipment that falls under the FCC’s definition of an ATDS, there are additional considerations to be made regarding revocation of consent. For more info, please read our previous blog post on the topic.
The CAN-SPAM Act, the FTC’s regulations for senders of commercial emails, explains that senders must allow consumers to opt out of receiving future emails. This opt-out option must be clear, conspicuous, and must be an internet-based method that is active for at least 30 days after the message is sent. If using an opt-out link, the link must also remain active for at least 30 days after the message is sent. All opt-outs must be honored within 10 days of the opt-out request.
Text Messaging Opt-outs:
Text messages are considered the same as calls to wireless numbers under the TCPA, and, therefore, the rules surrounding revocation of consent apply. Companies must add consumers that have opted-out of solicitous texts to the DNC list, revocation of consent list, or both depending on the delivery method. There must be careful analysis to determine whether the opt-out goes to the internal Do Not Call/Text list, to the revocation of consent list, or both The Mobile Marketing Association recommends that Do Not Text instructions be sent via text message on a regular basis. These instructions can be as simple as “reply STOP to stop receiving text messages from (company name).” Once a customer opts-out, the company is allowed to send one more text confirming the opt-out and honor that request within 30 days.
For more information on how to properly honor revocation of consent, please contact us at email@example.com.
Alex Sharpe is a Consultant at CompliancePoint. She works with clients in a variety of industries and aims to keep them updated on the latest changes in the regulatory environment related to U.S. federal and state consumer contact requirements and direct marketing compliance. Her focus is on helping clients navigate and understand how the regulations affect their business. Alex has earned her Customer Engagement Compliance Professional (CECP) certification from the Professional Association for Customer Engagement (PACE) and has a B.B.A. in Management from the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business.