VPA Voice Newsletter

The VPA Voice
"Giving a Voice to Industry Members"
September 30, 2014

Important Reminders About Outbound Telemarketing

A few months ago we were alerted to the fact that some call centers using outbound telemarketing by auto-dialers that may not be in compliance with state and federal laws. In addition to those, there have been recent issues raised by law enforcement regulatory agencies over illegal predictive dialing as well.

Don’t become a victim of a robodialing scam! If you are accepting live transfer calls, your company may be at risk. The industry standard for being the target of a law enforcement or regulatory agency is whether you knew or should have known, which means actual notice isn’t required.

Robodailing scams work like this:

  1. A robodial lead generator will dial phone numbers, notifying consumers that their "factory warranty" may have expired. Interested consumers are asked to press 1 for more information, are then prompted for the model year of the vehicle and told someone will call back shortly.
  2. A few minutes later a live caller will contact the consumer and transfer them to a call center. As a result, the call center may or may not be aware the callers are the result of robodialing.
  3. If you accept live voice transfers, have your sales representatives ask consumers how they were dialed. If those consumers were asked to press 1 to be transferred to the call center, immediately stop leads from the provider and notify Chris Carenza.

    Please contact Chris Carenza at chris@vpanet.org or 314-667-5654 with any information or questions.

    Do Not Call Registry Compliance

    The VPA is now accepting nominations for the next Board of Directors. If you or someone you know would like to be considered please fill out a nomination form available on the VPA website.

    Forms must be signed, scanned, emailed to Chris Carenza at chris@vpanet.org and received by August 29. Only one nomination per company is allowed and the member must be in good standing with the VPA.

    Shortly after nominations have been collected, we will be sending out an email with ballots and information regarding voting.

    Please contact Chris Carenza at chris@vpanet.org or 314-667-5654 with any questions.

    VPA Regulatory/Legislative Updates

    We can’t stress enough how important it is to be in compliance with federal and state regulations regarding the Do Not Call registries. Last month, the State of Texas filed a lawsuit against Precise Enterprises, LLC for violating DNC laws. It is a very serious issue for our industry that some companies are not in compliance when they are dialing consumer cell phones and persons on the state and federal DNC lists.

    We understand that the laws involving the legality of solicitation calls are quite complex, so we’ve provided some important information below to help sellers and telemarketers remain in compliance with DNC regulations. The VPA recommends you review the FTC and FCC websites and seek legal counsel from an experienced telemarketing lawyer before using these methods or any information found on your own.

    Access to the National Do Not Call Registry

    All sellers covered by the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) must pay for access to the National DNC Registry before they call or cause a telemarketer to call consumers. Telemarketers can be granted access through their seller-client’s unique account number. However, before placing calls on their behalf, telemarketers must ensure that the seller-client has paid the appropriate annual fee.

    Access to the National Registry costs an annual fee of $58 per area code, or $15,963 for access to every area code in the registry, whichever is less.

    Sellers, and the telemarketers hired by sellers, that don’t pay for access to the registry are liable for any calls made to consumers, even to numbers not included on the registry. Violators are subject to fines of up to $16,000 per violation, and each call may be considered a separate violation. Keep in mind that just ringing the consumers’ phone is a violation, regardless of the content of the message (which could possibly lead to other violations as well).

    State Do Not Call Registries

    Some 13 states still administer their own DNC registries – you can view those states here. Thus, sellers and telemarketers should check with each state to determine what is required for compliance at the state level.

    Transmitting Caller ID

    Telemarketers are required by FCC rules to transmit caller ID information regardless of the calling system. Caller ID information must include either calling party number (CPN) or automatic number identification (ANI) and, when available, the telemarketer’s carrier.

    Calling Consumer Cell Phones

    According to the FCC, it’s unlawful for any person to make a call using an automatic telephone dialing system or pre-recorded voice message to any telephone number assigned to a paging service or mobile telephone service. Violators are subject to penalties of up to $16,000 per violation.

    Providing Timely Cancellations and Refunds

    Last week, the Minnesota’s Attorney General filed a lawsuit against Enterprise Financial Group, Inc. for delays in providing refunds to consumers and failure to issue penalty payments. EFG’s contracts allow customers to receive a full refund if they cancel within 30 days of purchase, or receive a pro-rated refund if cancelled thereafter. The lawsuit alleges that EFG failed to comply with cancellation provisions, making it difficult for consumers to cancel, and delayed refunds for many months.

    Failure to provide timely refunds to consumers poses a huge issue for everyone in our industry and is one of the quickest ways to become a target for a law enforcement/regulatory agency.

    This is a very important issue in our industry and we encourage all members to work with their business partners to set up protocols and procedures to avoid consumer complaints and costly lawsuits. For more information, please visit the Member’s section of the VPA website to view our webinar on this topic.

    VPA Regulatory/Legislative Updates

    North Carolina Sales Tax Bill Reminder

    Reminder for all call centers – North Carolina House Bill 1050 goes into effect on October 1, 2014! With this new regulation, call centers must remit sales tax to the North Carolina Department of Revenue on vehicle service contracts sold on and after October 1. The bill defines “service contract” as a contract where the obligor agrees to maintain or repair tangible personal property or a motor vehicle. This definition includes warranty agreements, maintenance agreements and repair contracts. The tax rate is 4.75% and applies to gross receipts derived from sales of service contracts.

    Upon cancellation or rescission of service contract sales, retailers are entitled to receive a refund of the sales tax remitted to the state only when they provide refunds to the purchasers of the rescinded or canceled contracts, including both the purchase price and pro rata share of the sales tax paid by the consumers.

    Under the new law, the NC Department of Revenue recommends using the NC Form e500 for sales tax submissions. You can find the NC Form e500 here.

    Member Showcase

    This month, the VPA would like to recognize Jordan Batt, President at Endurance, for his commitment to giving back. Next month, Jordan is hosting a charity poker tournament to raise money for Type 1 Diabetes. All the proceeds from the event will benefit the Chicago Diabetes Project (CDP). While equipment and management for Type 1 Diabetes becomes more advanced each year, there is still no cure for the disease and the CDP is doing groundbreaking work to change that.

    Jordan has a very personal connection with the disease as his oldest son, Joshua, was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 2010, at just 22 months old. Joshua, now six years old, endures 10 finger pricks a day to check blood sugar levels and must constantly monitor everything he eats and drinks in order administer the proper amount of insulin.

    More information about Jordan’s poker tournament can be found at www.cdppoker.com. If you would like to donate to this worthy cause, you can do so here. Please note all donations are tax deductible.