Telephone Consumer Protection Act
By: Danielle M. Roth
Per the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), dealership business development centers (BDC) are considered telemarketers.1 In an effort to address a growing number of telephone marketing calls, Congress enacted the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) in 1991. The TCPA restricts the making of telemarketing calls and the use of automatic telephone dialing systems2 and artificial or prerecorded voice messages. The rules apply to common carriers as well as to other marketers. In 1992, the Commission adopted rules to implement the TCPA, including the requirement that entities making telephone solicitations institute procedures for maintaining company-specific do-not-call lists.
The FCC requires telemarketers to transmit caller identification information, including the number and name of the caller. The telephone number provided must permit any individual to make a do-not-call request during regular business hours. It also provides that any person or entity that engages in telemarketing is prohibited from blocking the transmission of caller identification information.
The TCPA prohibits telephone solicitations that:
- Are made to residences before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m.;
- Fail to provide the consumer with the solicitor’s identity, including his or her true phone number via caller identification service, and an opportunity to opt out of the current call, and all future calls, made by that solicitor;
- Send pre-recorded messages to a residential line without the consumer’s prior express consent; and
- Use an autodialer or pre-recorded messages to a cellular, emergency, or hospital room line without prior express consent. Any telemarketing calls made to a cellular telephone number require written prior express consent; all others require either oral or written consent. This specific provision does not apply to residential phone lines.
Dealers should contact their experienced motor vehicle counsel to ensure their marketing department is in compliance with the TCPA.
1 The TCPA’s protections extend to text messaging in the same manner that they apply to telephone calls.
2 Each state has its own telemarketing requirements in statute or code, and some are more stringent than the federal requirements.