This year, our first two installments of Did You Know focused on opportunities to contact your former clients. We recognize that you also have to reach out to new clients to grow your business. If part of your marketing strategy involves calling expired listings, owners of “For Sale By Owner” properties, individuals on the vacant property list, etc, you should be aware of the restrictions placed on cold calling by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (the “TCPA”) and the Do Not Call Registry.
The Federal Communication Commission promulgates rules to implement the TCPA. Under these rules, callers soliciting services can only place calls between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. local time to the number that is being called. In other words, if you are calling an owner of a DC property that lives in California to solicit your services, you have to be sure that it is at least 8:00 a.m. pacific time. Additionally, California may have its own restrictions on making solicitation calls of which you will need to be mindful. The TCPA also requires you to identify yourself, the person or entity on whose behalf you are calling (i.e., your brokerage), and a telephone number or address where you can be contacted. Every company engaged in sales should have a written policy and procedures for complying with the TCPA.
Although, most of you will make individual calls to potential clients, you should avoid the use of autodialers to deliver prerecord messages. These are called robocalls and the TCPA prohibits robocalls.
Before you make a call, be sure to check the Do Not Call Registry (the “Registry”). If your brokerage does not already subscribe to the Registry, you will need to do so. Once you sign up, you can download the registry by area code. The first five area codes are free, each additional area code costs $62 annually. Once you are a subscriber you may also check individual numbers on the registry website. The Registry must be checked every 31 days. Additionally, companies are required to maintain a company specific do not call list. For example, if you call someone who is not on the Registry and that person tells you not to call him/her, then that number must be added to your company’s internal do not call list. Your company should have written procedures for maintaining its internal do not call list. If your company does not have any written procedures for maintaining its internal do not call list or for complying with the TCPA, you should not make any calls soliciting your services to individuals with whom you do not have a relationship.
The fines for violating the TCPA can be steep. The attorneys with the Shulman Rogers Telecommunications Law Practice are here to answer any questions you may have concerning the TCPA and other telecommunication laws that may affect your business.
Be safe this weekend.
For more information regarding our Residential Real Estate Settlements Group or our general real estate transactions and litigation practice, please contact the Group Chair at 301-230-6574 or email@example.com.
This publication/newsletter is for informational purposes and does not contain or convey legal advice. The information herein should not be used or relied upon in regard to any particular facts or circumstances without first consulting a lawyer.
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