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Everyone Luvs a Prerecorded and Automated Phone Call!

In an era of fierce competition, personal service or “hands-on” communication would seem to make more sense than sending a  recorded marketing message to a consumer’s phone.

Am I kidding?  Yes, I am.  Why would any REALTOR® in this age of disruption revert to or continue the use of, for marketing purposes, automated calls and prerecorded messages?  In an era of fierce competition, personal service or “hands-on” communication would seem to make more sense than sending a  recorded marketing message to a consumer’s phone.

In light of the federal statute known as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), enacted in 1991 to protect consumers from telephone marketing messages, and a significant jump in related class action lawsuits, the message would seem to be clear:  marketing (suggesting the use of your services) by using prerecorded messages and automated telephone calls carries a high degree of risk.  Here are the risk factors:

  • Are your calls or texts, manual or automated, made to someone registered with the federal or state Do Not Call Registry?
  • Are your automated calls or texts made to individuals without their written consent?

A violation of 1 or 2 above exposes you to significant damages and fines anywhere from $500 to $1,500 per violation. Most recently, a Texas-based broker got served with a 21-page class-action lawsuit alleging one or both of the above types of conduct by or on behalf of the broker. Under the TCPA, “written consent” means an agreement, in writing, bearing the signature of the person called that clearly authorizes the delivery of prerecorded marketing messages using an automatic telephone dialing system, and the telephone number to which the signatory authorizes such telemarketing messages to be delivered. Further, avoiding automated calls requires “manual dialing” whereby a human dials the number and talks with the intended recipient or leaves a verbal message on that person’s machine or voice mail (presuming no DNC registration).

By the way, hiring a third party to provide you needed information or to make the calls does not relieve you of responsibility. 

So, ask yourself the following:

  • Do I have written consent to auto-call/text a prerecorded marketing message from each person receiving the message?
  • Will I (and have I) on a consistent basis review the national and state DNC Registry to make sure the recipients of my marketing messages are not registered?

If you can answer both questions with a “Yes”, then those recipients must luv hearing from you.

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