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Auto Dialers & Do Not Call Lists

Understanding Auto Dialers and Do Not Call Lists in TCPA Compliance

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Abbie Tabbilos

Marketing Content Writer

If telemarketing were a game, with contact centers on one team and consumers on another, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) would act as the middleman – the referee.

The TCPA is a set of federal laws designed to protect consumers from unwanted or excessively intrusive calls. These laws govern many aspects of telemarketing, including who call centers can contact, when they can contact them and what means they may use to contact them.

Those who participate in any type of outbound telephone contact (including auto and manually dialed phone calls, faxes, voice messages and texts) are required to comply with TCPA regulations to avoid copping severe fines that can range from $500 to $1,5000 per violation. 

It can be hard to keep track of all of the regulations contact centers must adhere to, especially because these regulations regularly shift and are subject to change and interpretation. But TCPA compliance doesn’t have to be a source of stress for contact centers. 

To boil it down to the basics, many compliance laws involve specific regulations surrounding auto dialers. Many resources, such as Do Not Call (DNC) lists, aid contact centers in their efforts to stay compliant. 

If you want to understand TCPA compliance, understanding the role auto dialers and DNC lists play in it is a good place to start.  

Auto dialer’s role in TCPA compliance

An auto dialer, or automatic dialer, is a software program used to automatically dial phone numbers from a list. However, the reach of auto dialers goes beyond that of just quickly placing calls – once the number connects, the auto dialer can transfer the call to an available agent, play pre-recorded messages and even identify answering machines or voicemails, saving the agent time.

To use auto dialers in a TCPA-compliant way, the following regulations must be adhered to:

Watch the time

It is prohibited for telemarketers to contact consumers at any time before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. in their residential time zone.

Don’t contact protected numbers

Telemarketers may not call any telephone line that is linked to any type of health care or emergency facilities, including fire protection and law enforcement agencies. Telemarketers may not contact any number where the called party would be charged for that call. 

Identify yourself

All auto dialed calls must identify the caller’s name and phone number. This information should be transmitted electronically using Caller ID technology. TCN’s Phone Number Registration solution helps your contact center be identified as a trusted caller. 

Auto dialers may never be used to contact any party unless prior expressed written consent has been obtained. Consumers have every right to opt out of receiving calls, and contact centers must make it easy for customers to do so if they choose to. 

It is up to the contact center to keep track of this information – and this is where things can get tricky. Even though consumers often change phone numbers, this doesn’t excuse the contact center from penalties should they contact someone without consent, whether or not this contact occurred because the number was reassigned.

This is where the role of Do Not Call lists comes into play.

The role of Do Not Call lists in TCPA compliance

Consumers who are revoking their consent to be contacted are placed on a DNC list. There are two types of these lists:

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) maintains a list of all people and their current phone numbers who have joined the national DNC list, referred to as the National Do Not Call Registry. It is updated regularly, and by law, telemarketers must scrub their contact lists against this list at least every 31 days to avoid breaking compliance by contacting registered numbers. 

Second, some companies may have their own private DNC lists. These lists allow consumers to opt out of receiving calls specifically from that company. These lists are separate from the National Do Not Call Registry and companies are responsible for maintaining them. 

Additionally, TCN’s Reassigned Numbers Database solution helps you securely identify disconnected numbers within the United States so you can better keep track of consent lists. 

While these lists may seem like just another compliance regulation to follow, they actually both serve as tools to help your contact center stay compliant because they make it easier for your call center to see clearly who your may or may not contact.

Maintaining TCPA compliance with TCN

Contact centers are not alone in their efforts to remain compliant with the TCPA. Many call center software providers, such as TCN, offer user-friendly solutions to simplify these regulations. 

Besides those mentioned above, TCN has a suite of solutions that make it easier for your call center to stay compliant so you can focus on more important matters. These solutions include:

  1. List Management Services (LMS)
    TCN’s LMS solution automates the processes required to ensure your data lists comply with time restrictions and consent regulations. 
  2. Natural Language Compliance (NLC)
    With NLC, you can write, audit and automate simplified, easy-to-read custom compliance rules as regulations and rulings come and go.
  3. Manually Approved Calling (MAC) and SMS
    As an extra step to safeguard your contact center against compliance risk, utilize MAC and SMS solutions to ensure agents are contacting approved numbers before the contact is made.
  4. Call Recording Storage
    TCN empowers your contact center to ensure every call is recorded, safely stored and easily accessible to provide concrete training resources and safeguard your call center against compliance risk.

And that’s just the beginning! Check out this page to learn more about how TCN offers an easier and more streamlined approach to call center compliance. 

Understanding the role of auto dialers and Do Not Call lists in TCPA compliance

Understanding auto dialers and DNC lists is a crucial first step, but TCPA compliance doesn’t have to be a burden. Here are a few key takeaways to remember:

  • TCPA compliance protects consumers and ensures your contact center operates ethically
  • Auto dialers are powerful tools, but they require strict adherence to time, consent and identification regulations
  • DNC lists are your allies in maintaining compliance. Utilize both the National Do Not Call Registry and your own internal lists

TCN can help your call center take the complicated out of compliance. Check out TCN’s Complete Guide to TCPA Compliance for more information.

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