UPDATE: Supremes Question TCPA Constitutionality
TCPA and DNC Regulations Trip Franchise Development Teams
If You Call or Text Franchise Leads, Please Read This
December 11, 2020 – On Tuesday, the Supreme Court of the United States heard arguments (transcript here) over the definition of an autodialer, specifically whether the “definition of ATDS in the TCPA encompasses any device that can “store” and “automatically dial” telephone numbers, even if the device does not “us[e] a random or sequential number generator.” As arcane as that sounds, the question is whether software to make calls or texts easier — or even telephones themselves — could be considered “ATDS” under the interpretations of lower courts.
The great news is that the Supreme Court of the United States will rule definitively on this issue before June 30, 2021, but most likely months before that. The discussion made it sound more likely that a decision would land on the side of legitimate marketers.
As we shared a few weeks ago, gaps in knowledge of the regulatory requirements for communicating with prospects is common in the franchise and business opportunity space. This creates risk for legitimate businesses and their owners who do not take the basic precautions to avoid claims of violating these regulations. The ATDS issue is but a single facet of the law which governs the legalities of communicating by telephone with consumers.
Details about the risk and advice on what to do about it were shared November 18 in a webinar sponsored by FranchiseVentures. In the clients-only webinar, leading TCPA attorney Eric Troutman pointed out that “TCPA is the Biggest Litigation Cash Cow of All Time”. Businesses may be vulnerable to lawsuits, from both consumers and “bad actors” who might take advantage of the law. What’s more, executives and even employees of a company may be personally liable for violations.
Countless franchisors have received complaints from consumers and/or franchise prospects and their legal representatives relating to unwanted texting or calling. By Googling “largest TCPA settlements”, you will recognize many household names.
Five VERY Important Questions:
- Do ALL of your lead sources acquire proper consent for you to email, text and call? (check all their lead forms)
- Does your own website, and do all of your landing pages gain proper consent for you to email, text and call?
- Do you recheck the DNC list at the required frequency?
- Do you avoid exposing your brand to significant risk by sharing leads with 3rd parties to whom prospects have not directly given consent?
- Do you honor requests by individuals to have their personal data removed?
If your answer is “no” answer to any of these questions, you are at significant risk and should take immediate action. Find an attorney familiar with TCPA law, and have your specific practices reviewed.
The good news is that compliance is not difficult, and does not require significant investment. In fact, all customers of the FranchiseVentures group of companies — Franchise.com Network, Franchise Gator, Franchise Opportunities Network, and BusinessBroker.net — can rest assured that consent is obtained for the specific business choices made by a prospect on a lead form, and regular DNC checks are made on all lead submissions before they are sent to customers. This is in addition to phone and email data validation and spam removal. Further, through the Franchise Insights desktop or mobile app, customers of FranchiseVentures companies can review the status of each lead for data validation, Do Not Call status, and consent in real time.
[If you are a current client, and don’t have access, you can request it here. Many new features arrive in a new release available at the Android Play and Apple App Store Wednesday, November 25.]
FranchiseVentures is the leading demand– and lead-generation platform for potential franchisees to thousands of growing franchise systems in the United States and Canada. Its franchise lead generation brands include Franchise.com, Franchise Solutions, Franchise Gator, Franchise Opportunities, Franchise For Sale, SmallBusinessStartup.com and BusinessBroker.net, and together they provide the largest aggregation of prospective franchise buyers in the U.S.
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Published on Friday, December 11th, 2020.