What does the law do?
It prohibits most business solicitation calls to consumers who have placed their telephone number on either the National Do Not Call Registry or a companys own do-not-call list (which every business must now maintain). It also requires caller ID on solicitation calls, and restricts the hours during which calls are made.
What calls are covered?
Any calls made to a residential or cell number for the purpose of soliciting business. This includes calling FSBOs, expireds, and prospecting a farm area. It also covers, with limited-time exemptions, calls to past clients and in response to inquiries.
What are the penalties for non-compliance?
Each prohibited call can trigger a fine of up to $11,000 plus additional amounts to the complaining consumer. Enforcement action can be taken by the federal government and by each states attorney general.
Cant I just tell my agents they have to deal with it?
Full compliance can only occur at the company level because do-not-call requests and exemptions apply at the company level. Regardless of the brokers agreement with his agents, companies will still be the target of any complaints, so it is important that brokers assure the company is complying with the safe harbor requirements
What does the Safe Harbor do?
The law creates a safe harbor that will allow brokers to potentially escape penalty for the occasional errant call by one of its agents. Safe harbor protection requires firms to: have a written policy; train their personnel; provide method for checking numbers against a company-specific do-not-call list and the National Registry; and monitor and enforce compliance.
If I comply with Safe Harbor does that mean I cant be fined?
No. Safe harbor stacks the deck in your favor, but its not a get out of jail free card. A firm which complies with all of the safe harbor requirements is presumed to be making a good-faith compliance effort. In the event of a complaint, that presumption will be taken into account and the occasional errant call can be excused. It does not protect you against willful violations.
How do these rules affect prospecting FSBOs?
If you are calling a FSBO because you are representing a buyer for their home, the call is permitted because you are not soliciting their business. However, if any portion of the call includes solicitation of a listing or promotion of your services, or asking for a commission, the call would be a violation of the law if the phone number is listed on the National Do Not Call Registry.
How is calling sellers with expired listings effected?
If the phone number is on the National Do Not Call Registry, you may not call to solicit a listing, unless the pervious listing was with your company, which would permit an 18 month exemption.
Can I call back people who make an inquiry?
Yes. Even if a number appears on the National Do Not Call Registry, you may contact the consumer in response to a legitimate inquiry. That exemption, however, is good for only 3 months, so once you make contact with the consumer, you should attempt to secure written permission to call.
I can still call my past clients, cant I?
Yes, but only for 18 months from the end of your last transaction (listing, agency agreement, or purchase/sale). That doesnt help REALTORS® much since the client isnt ready for that next home that soon. You need to obtain written permission to call from all clients and customers, and track those exemptions in your do-not-call program.
Can I call someone who was referred to me by a past client or another agent?
The law does not currently provide an exemption for calls based on a third-party referral if the consumers number is on the National Registry.
What if a consumer tells one of my agents to put their number on our do-not-call list?
You are required to maintain a list of those requests and take steps to assure that your other agents do not make calls to that number, even if the consumers number isnt on the National Do Not Call Registry. Such requests override all exemptions.
What is the caller ID requirement?
Calls made to consumers for the purposes of soliciting business may not be made from a telephone which blocks transmission of its caller ID. Such calls much display a number the consumer can call to request removal from the companys list.