Call center managers everywhere know the U.S. FCC (Federal Communications Commission) keeps constant watch over them and their operations.
The TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act), passed way back in 1991, made it all possible.
Now, almost 30 years later, the U.S. Congress continues increasing fines and penalties on companies that violate TCPA regulations.
Because of this, smart call center executives and managers always keep TCPA Compliance on their radar.
But on December 31, 2019, President Trump signed The TRACED Act (Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence), potentially fining companies up to $10,000 per robocall.
This new law poses yet another challenge to the call center industry.
Today, we’ll dive into the new TRACED Act and reveal how call center leadership can survive and thrive during the highest levesl of FCC scrutiny to date.
A Look Inside the TRACED Act: Why Lawmakers Believed It Necessary
Americans received around 48 billion robocalls in 2018. Youmail, a call blocking app serving mobile device owners, released that unbelievable statistic last year.
Hiya, a spam monitoring service, estimates it was more like 26 billion robocalls.
For regular people, the sheer quantity of unwanted calls is frustrating. But “caller ID spoofing” might make it even worse.
This is when robocall senders disguise their actual phone number, making it look like a local number to call receivers.
Congress’ efforts, over the years, to slow the growth of robocalls through more legislation and fines haven’t worked as well as we all hoped.
All of these factors spurred Congress to rapid, tough action.
So, what does the TRACED Act actually say, and how does it place more burdens on call centers?
What the TRACED ACT Means for Call Centers
On its face, Congress passed the TRACED Act to strike fear into every robocall scamming operation that deliberately tries to defraud American citizens.
Honest call center executives and managers reading this post know that laser beam isn’t pointed at them, however. The fear, however, is being mislabeled.
The TRACED Act’s authorization of an up to $10,000 fine per unwelcome robocall is something we all need to take seriously.
Major Voice Service Providers Forced to Comply
The TRACED Act stipulates major cell carriers like AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile must install STIR/SHAKEN technology onto their networks. This protocol makes it easier for carriers to alert their customers when they’re receiving a potentially spoofed number.
Some carriers have already implemented STIR/SHAKEN in anticipation of the new legislation.
FCC to Search Outbound Call History for Potentially Illegal Robocalls
In addition to the potential $10,000 fine per robocall for bad actors that deliberately violate the law, the FCC reserves the right to fine persons or entities that are not FCC licensees up to $20,489 for a violation.
The TRACED Act also expands TCPA by legally pursuing call center outfits that deliberately violated the law within the last four years.
So the FCC could still sue a call center that’s recently tightened up their compliance practices but may have slipped up, legally speaking, in the past.
Fortunately, the FCC only issues a notice of apparent liability to robocallers that accidentally violated TCPA in the past year.
We recommend immediately diving into the new law and scrutinizing all the details to get in compliance right away.
TCPA: A Quick Rundown of the TRACED Act’s Precursor
Before The TRACED ACT, risk-aware call center executives and managers always focused on TCPA and complying with its regulations.
Passed in 1991, TCPA restricted telephone solicitations enabled by automatic dialers. It also limited the use of prerecorded messages, or robocalls, and later text messages and fax machine messages.
In 2003, Congress passed the Do-Not-Call Implementation Act that established the National Do-Not-Call Registry to limit unwanted calls to registered consumers.
Up until now, TCPA enabled consumers to sue offending companies $500-$1500 per violation, call, or text.
Despite the increasing regulations, the problem persisted.
In 2013, the FCC passed an amendment to TCPA informing call centers and telemarketers they needed prior express consent from their customers to use prerecorded messages.
And just last June 2019, the FCC issued a Declaratory Ruling empowering voice service providers to “aggressively block unwanted robocalls” before consumers receive them.
The quest for regulators to end unsolicited calls and scams marches on almost 30 years later.
The question is: how do legitimate, law-abiding call centers maintain TCPA compliance and beyond in an era of more intense government scrutiny?
Compliance Tech: Reducing the Widening Regulatory Threat
TCN’s Compliance Suite features an industry first – Natural Language Compliance (NLC).
This tool significantly reduces a call center’s regulatory exposure by using smart algorithms to help build customizable rules that take into account the latest federal and state regulations.
All managers have to do is type in any new rule and voila, the Natural Language Compliance engine enforces calling behavior to the letter.
NLC also gives managers the freedom to:
- Generate unlimited rules and rule sets that take into account various markets, communication channels, campaigns, and more.
- Quickly generate or edit new rules as needed and at a moment’s notice.
- Use saved rule sets for future campaigns.
This incredible compliance suite also features Call Recording with 100% PCI (Payment Card Industry) Redaction – a must for any serious TCPA compliance program.
Managers can quickly search and use this feature for agent training, compliance, and audit reviews. This tool is essential for any call center looking to turn their quality assurance and TCPA compliance up to 100.
Cell phone scrubbing is also a valuable tool that comes built into the TCN Compliance Suite. “Scrubbing” is the mechanism of identifying and archiving call records from your customer call lists.
The 2013 TCPA amendment protected cell phone users as more consumers exclusively used them. Keeping these records on hand can help protect call centers from lawsuits.
TCN’s scrubbing tool quickly identifies cell phone and ported numbers during outbound calls, canceling outbound calls to them immediately.
All of these tools come standard with this top-of-the-line compliance suite. Yet there are even more tools featured – all designed to save professional call center managers time, stress, and worry.
Cloud-Based Software Protects and Safeguards Call Center Operations Despite Any Newly Passed Regulations
Feeling nervous about these changes is natural. After all, the law empowers the FCC to go after call center’s for activity from up to four years ago. Ouch.
While managers can’t change the past, the TRACED Act provides a timely reminder – that managers have the power to implement systems that keep their operations in total TCPA and TRACED Act compliance.
It’s time to reinforce the virtual moat around your manager’s call center castle.
To learn how cloud-based call center software can help managers maintain TCPA compliance, download our Complete Guide and Checklist to TCPA for Call Centers today!