The FCC has released a new set of rules related to automated telemarketing systems that could affect the way larger home remodelers use existing call center software and text messages. Here is the news release.
The ruling states that:
“The Commission affirmed consumers’ rights to control the calls they receive. As part of this package, the Commission also made clear that telephone companies face no legal
barriers to allowing consumers to choose to use robocall-blocking technology.”
This could affect contractors currently using in-house call center software to cue calls and automatically dial after a disconnect.
The intent of the rule is to reduce the number of unwanted calls based on more than 215,000 complaints to the FCC. Oftentimes there is no way to opt-out of a robocall until the very end and most people don’t wait long enough to hear the message. They will hang up and their number will remain in the cue and could be repeatedly redialed until the robocaller gets what they desire.
Robocalls are used in numerous industries for notification, surveying, and, most notably, predatory prospect mining. Political parties will use the calls to advocate for a candidate. Medical facilities use automated dialers for appointment reminders. Some businesses will call and “notify” the phone bearer that they must act on an offer or talk to someone immediately about their account. These are the calls the FCC would like to eliminate.
How could this affect contractors?
A lot of larger home remodeling businesses and national chains use call center software to cultivate leads or inform homeowners of anticipated appointments or upcoming events. Based on several interpretations of the ruling, this software would become illegal and need to be altered to not allow auto-cuing to occur. Additionally, there is a trend in the industry to use text messages to notify homeowners of upcoming appointments. According to several sources, this could also become illegal. An easy fix might be altering your software to allow for easy opt-out. But that still doesn’t address the legality of the software. Like any ruling of this nature, it remains to be seen how the new ruling will be enforced. Until then, be careful how you are contacting your customers and make sure you aren’t getting tagged as a robocaller!