Understanding Do Not Contact (DNC) Compliance

Understanding Do Not Contact (DNC) Compliance

It’s no secret that telemarketers sometimes overstep the line and overload customers with sales pitches. As the concern about customer privacy rose over the years, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) established the Do Not Contact rules to give people a little break from unsolicited sales calls and text messages. Now, anyone who doesn’t want to receive telemarketing calls or texts can add a phone number to the Do Not Contact Registry, and businesses can’t contact them for sales purposes without breaking the law.
The question is, how can telemarketers still operate their businesses and reach customers without jeopardizing their privacy? The answer lies in following the DNC rules and regulations. As long as you achieve and maintain DNC compliance, you can communicate with customers and accomplish your sales goals. Otherwise, you may run into customer dissatisfaction and face fines and penalties for disregarding the rules. 
If you’re not sure how DNC compliance works, we have you covered. We composed a comprehensive guide to understanding the Do Not Contact rules and provided tips on how to comply with ease. 

What Is DNC Compliance?

DNC compliance means following federal rules for customer privacy. It involves ensuring that your business is not calling or otherwise contacting the phone numbers listed on the Do Not Contact (DNC) registry. 
The federal government has a DNC registry of all people who don’t want to be contacted by telemarketers. Many states also maintain their own DNC registries. As a company, you must comply with all the relevant rules, both on the federal level and in the states where you do business. 
The same applies to robocalls and automated text messages. Regardless of who is contacting the customer, you must ensure the party on the other side is not on the DNC registry. If you outsource any of your telemarketing work, you will also need to oversee your vendors and ensure they follow the rules.

The Importance of DNC Compliance for Customers and Businesses

The Do Not Contact Compliance allows consumers to exercise their right to privacy by deciding who can contact them and under what conditions. Today, many people feel overloaded with marketing information and sales pitches. Studies have shown that the more advertising people get exposed to, the less they trust businesses. Over-saturation in advertising can make consumers feel cornered by marketers and their aggressive sales techniques. The DNC restores customer confidence in the marketplace as companies take more care about people’s preferences and privacy. 
Following these facts, some people wrongly assume that DNC compliance harms and limits business operations. In reality, the DNC rules help telemarketers build trust and long-lasting relationships with customers by demonstrating respect for privacy. 
If a consumer has taken the time to list their number on the DNC registry, receiving a telemarketing call will likely make them feel annoyed and invaded. That’s not the kind of impact you want to have on consumers. Instead of overloading customers with sales pitches, calls, and text messages, you want to create meaningful, targeted marketing strategies
The key is to pay attention to what consumers want. If some people dislike telemarketing, it’s a good idea to avoid calling them and focus on other marketing strategies. Social media, emails, or in-store promotions can help you reach that particular group of consumers.

How Can Businesses Access the Do Not Contact Registry?

Consumers who don’t want to receive unsolicited sales calls or text messages can register their phone numbers with the DNC registry in their state. They can also do so on the federal DNC registry. Once a phone number gets registered with the DNC, businesses may not contact those phone numbers for sales purposes.
Businesses are responsible for informing themselves about the phone numbers on the DNC list and downloading lists at least every 31 days. They also need to check the registry for newly added numbers because the list constantly gets updated. The FTC levies penalties against companies that fail to comply with the Do Not Contact laws.
The FTC organizes the DNC registry by area code and allows you to access data for up to five area codes free of charge. If your business needs more data, there is a charge of $69 for each additional code. The maximum fee is $19,017, which means that companies operating on a national scale may face substantial charges to access the DNC.

What Are the Penalties for Non-Compliance?

Businesses that fail to comply with the DNC rules and regulations risk severe penalties. Here’s what you can expect: 

Fines for Failure to Comply

Companies that contact phone numbers on the National Do Not Call registry are subject to fines of up to $43,792 for each incident. That applies to phone calls placed by telemarketers as well as robocalling devices. The penalties also come for DNC texting, whether messages got sent by a human agent or a computer.

Penalties for Failing to Download the DNC List

Telemarketing companies must access the DNC list before contacting consumers in any way. It’s against the law to reach any person living in a given area code without first accessing the portion of the DNC that applies to that area code. Violations can result in fines of up to $46,517 per breach.
Each call counts as a separate violation. If your business makes multiple calls or sends multiple texts before downloading the DNC list, the fines could add up quickly.

Provision for Errors

The FTC does have a provision for mistakes. If you accidentally call someone on the DNC list or within an area code you have not paid for beforehand, you may meet the requirements of the so-called Safe Harbor provision. In that case, the business will not be subject to any fines or penalties.
Meeting the provision of the safe harbor regulations means that businesses must demonstrate that:

  • They have a written policy and an employee training program in place for compliance with the DNC regulations
  • They routinely monitor compliance with the DNC rules
  • There’s a regularly updated list of the names on the DNC registry

How to Stay Compliant

If you want to grow your business in a healthy and customer-centered way, remaining compliant with Do Not Contact rules and regulations is essential. Here are a few tips to help you get started: 

Train Your Current and New Employees

A growing business accepts many new employees. As people start working in your company, they may not remember to check the Do Not Contact registry before sending a text or making a call. A comprehensive DNC training program can help your new employees avoid starting mistakes and remind your existing teams of the compliance rules. 

Update Your Records

As a telemarketer, your responsibility is to regularly download your list of the phone numbers on the Do Not Contact registry. You have to do so for all the area codes that you do business in and update your records at least every 31 days. As you expand the business regions, don’t forget to download the lists of the new area codes.

Work with the Experts in the Field

No matter how carefully you do your research, you will likely find that the Do Not Contact rules are more complicated than expected. An expert with plenty of experience in the field can help you overcome any difficulties and get a firm grasp of DNC compliance. 
Aktify uses state-of-the-art data science and machine learning to help businesses build solid and lasting relationships with their current and future customers. Our solutions integrate with CRMs and marketing automation platforms for seamless use. We deliver phone calls and closed deals, and we have demonstrated an ROI of at least tenfold. 
Get in touch today to learn what we can do to help you with DNC compliance and support your growing business.

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