Ringless voicemail is a great way to connect, but is it exempt from TCPA rules? Can ringless voicemail drops protect you from lawsuits? Here’s what you need to know:
Understand what ringless voicemail is
A ringless voice drop goes through the back door to deposit a voicemail message directly into someone’s voicemail box. The recipient’s phone never rings, and they can check the voicemail at their leisure whenever they normally listen to their messages.
With a ringless voicemail, you never risk interrupting an important meeting or having a caller reflexively ask to be put on the do-not-call list before you’ve even had a chance to get your message out there. There are some great advantages to using voice drops, but it’s important to stay in compliance with TCPA regulations when you do.
How does the TCPA factor in?
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act, or TCPA, regulates all calls that made for marketing purposes. This included auto-dialled calls, pre-recorded messages, texts, and actual phone calls. The TCPA prohibits calls to cellphones from an autodialer, pre-recorded cold call messages to landlines, or calling any number on the DNC registry.
Some ringless voicemail providers encourage customers to believe that voice drops are immune from TCPA rules, but this is not the case. Ringless voicemail also has to be in compliance with TCPA rules or you may risk a lawsuit; and recent court decisions have determined that ringless voicemail calls do fall under TCPA regulations.
What automated calls are exempt from TCPA rules? There are plenty of legal ways to make use of ringless voicemail drops, and the TCPA rules don’t apply to:
- Debt collections
- Delivery company calls
- Calls from public utility providers
- Calls from healthcare providers or hospitals
- Emergency service calls
- Government calls
- Calls from a non-profit organisation, charity, or school
- Political campaign calls
- Calls for the purpose of market research
- Marketing and commercial messages to numbers that have given permission for it
- B2B calls and messages
- Marketing calls to business numbers that have given permission for it
- Calls to inquire about customer satisfaction
- Survey calls
Staying legal and compliant
Using ringless voicemail drops isn’t enough in itself to guarantee you’re safe from a lawsuit. However, there are a few ways to make sure you never have to worry about fines or lawsuits.
Work with a reputable network
An unscrupulous network will assure you that you’re exempt from the rules with their system. They’ll take your money; but when trouble comes they’ll consider it “not our problem.” A reputable organisation like Stratics Networks actively works to keep up with compliance consideration and is committed to responsible use of telecommunications systems.
Have a compliance team in place
Since you are ultimately responsible for the way you use your telecommunications outreach, it pays to have your own compliance team in place. Your team should be dedicated to keeping up with federal and state laws and work in conjunction with a reputable attorney to stay on the right side of the law.
Be mindful of state regulations
The states have their own rules, and you need to keep these in mind in addition to the TCPA regulations. Be aware that some states may prohibit calls on weekends or have more restricted automated dialing hours than the TCPA allows.
Give people a way out
Whenever you send a voicemail, be sure to have a mechanism in place that allows the recipient to opt out of future messages. Not only is this a great way to stay in compliance, it’s just common sense. People who don’t want to receive messages are much less likely to even consider pursuing a lawsuit if there’s a simpler way out.
Above all, when you leave a voice drop, be direct, honest, and clear. You’ll avoid trouble, stay in compliance, and have the best chance of earning a serious hearing for your message.