Understanding What the New TCPA Regulations Mean for Marketers

Consumers today feel overwhelmed by the amount of unsolicited phone calls and text messages they receive on a daily basis. U.S. consumers received 4.4 billion robocalls in April alone this year and receive an average of over 140 million calls a day. The number of robotexts being sent is even more absurd, as consumers received over 19 billion spam texts in April of this year and average receiving over 640 million a day.

Looking down every time your phone buzzes to find an ad, special promo offer, or potential scam can quickly escalate from confusion to annoyance to anger in consumers. Considering the number of calls and texts sent daily, it’s unsurprising that Congress would eventually try to address the problem by strengthening the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

At an open meeting at the end of 2023, the FCC voted to adopt new TCPA regulations to shield consumers from the wave of unwanted and illegal calls and text messages dinging their phones daily. While businesses will have a 12-month grace period to adopt these new rules, the time to plan for how this ruling will impact lead generation is now.

Continue reading as we look at these new FCC regulations, consider what they mean for companies, and what steps can be taken to stay in compliance.

The Need for Consent and the Elimination of the FCC Lead Generator Loophole

Among the biggest changes outlined by the FCC is a new TCPA regulation that requires companies to first obtain a consumer’s express written consent before they can legally send any calls or texts to their phone.

In the FCC lead generation ruling, the agency stated its intent to “close the current lead generator loophole by prohibiting lead generators, texters, and callers from using a single consumer consent to inundate consumers with unwanted texts and calls when consumers visit comparison shopping websites.”

In other words, lead generators will no longer be able to use consent to receive more information about a specific business to send solicitations to the consumer for other businesses. They will now need to receive consent for each business they want to send messages for, rather than being able to group businesses together under one instance of agreeing to receive more information.

The FCC’s new restrictions only apply to autodialed and prerecorded calls to cell phones. However, even if a business doesn’t use an autodialer, it should still review its existing lead generation policies to determine whether it makes legal sense to implement 1:1 content guidelines. This will help them stay ahead of any future FCC rulings while also meeting consumer preferences.

Texting Now Applies to Do-Not-Call Lists

The FCC ruling also confirmed that Do-Not-Call lists apply to receiving text messages. Texters must also obtain the consumer’s prior express permission or invitation before sending a marketing text to a cell phone number.

This decision supports the FCC’s longtime stance that a text is the equivalent of a phone call, and any consumer who wants to be placed on a Do-Not-Call list should also receive the same protections against unwanted text messages. The FCC also signaled that a consumer opting out from receiving a text from a business should be viewed as that consumer opting out of all marketing messages.

Marketers should now consider any opt-out of a telemarketing text as a request for the consumer to be placed on a business’ do-not-call list. While the new FCC regulations do not require businesses to take this step, voluntarily doing so would help to meet consumer expectations and ensure they remain compliant with any future changes to consumer protection laws.

Improvements to Spam Protections

Unwanted spam texts from shady parties are one of the largest drivers of the hundreds of millions of solicitations sent daily and the most significant threat to consumers. Phishing scams continue to evolve, making them harder for consumers to spot, and leading to the loss of personal information and money.

The new TCPA regulations require wireless providers to prevent texts from any number identified by the FCC as a potential source of spam. The TCPA regulations are meant to help provide legal backing to wireless providers who shut down numbers potentially used in fraud. The FCC still expects wireless companies to take the initiative to prevent texts from any number that receive a high number of “block” or “report as junk” requests from consumers.

Marketers should recognize that wireless providers may strengthen their policies for blocking text campaigns viewed as spam or that trigger high rates of opting out. To avoid having their campaigns blocked, marketers must take a thoughtful approach to all communications to ensure consumers are receptive.

Rather than blasting their message to everyone, marketers need to target high-value leads interested in what they have to offer. While this requires a more careful approach, it will prevent marketing communications from aggravating consumers and being labeled as spam.

eQuoto Can Help You Stay Compliant with TCPA Regulations

At eQuoto, we are well-positioned to help our partners meet these new TCPA regulations, ensuring compliance and improving consumer relationships. No one should have to receive an endless wave of unwanted calls and texts for services they don’t want or need. We believe these changes benefit everyone involved, enhancing transparency and trust in marketing communications.

Our commitment to compliant lead generation and consumer protection means you can rely on us to help you navigate these regulatory changes. Contact eQuoto today to discover how we can help you stay ahead of the curve and maintain effective and compliant marketing strategies that meet the needs of modern consumers.

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