Consent, and whether or not the customer has given it, plays a huge role in whether or not your call center is in compliance with federal and state telemarketing regulations. Here, we are covering all the basics you need to know about consent in this context.

Understanding Express Consent

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) mandates that every business has to receive express consent from individuals to receive communications from the business. Express consent is defined as explicit agreement from the customer and it must be very clear what the customer is agreeing to.

One type of express consent is express written consent, which the FCC defines as a written agreement between the caller and the receiver of the call that the caller can deliver messages and other communications to the customer using an automatic telephone dialing system or a pre-recorded voice. Express written consent must specify the phone number being called and include the receiver’s written or electronic signature, which may be that they pressed a button to affirm the consent. Express written consent is not always required; sometimes, businesses can obtain verbal consent that can be considered in the same manner as written consent. A customer may also provide express consent in an indirect manner. For example, if they provide a phone number to a company in one context, it may be used as prior or implied express consent to receive other related communications.

Expiration and Opt Outs

In general, consent does not expire. That means that even if a company goes a long stretch without contacting you and then suddenly starts to send new advertising or marketing messages they still have your consent to do so from when you provided it in the past. That said, customers have the right to revoke their consent and opt out of any future communications at any time and it is generally best to honor these requests immediately. Most of the time, businesses should assume that revocation of consent applies to all communications across all channels, unless a specific channel was specified by either the business at the time of obtaining consent or by the customer at the time of revoking it. What’s more, consent is typically tied to the person, not the phone number. So if someone comes into possession of a phone number the owner of which had previously given consent, the business does not have consent to contact this phone number unless the new owner gives it. This is just one reason that it is smart to renew consent at regular intervals so ensure that the customers receiving communications are those who really want them.

Why is consent so important?

Firstly, failure to comply with consent requirements can result in serious legal action against a company. Businesses who are found to violate TCPA consent rules can face fines, lawsuits, and reputational damage. What’s more, maintaining clear and unambiguous consent mechanisms strengthens the relationship and trust built between the business and the customer. If customers feel like a company respects them enough to provide clear consent communication, maintain easy opt-out mechanisms, and renew consent periodically, they are much more likely to give that company their business.

Do you have a question about compliance in the Call Center industry? We can help! Contact CallShaper today with your inquiry.