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Four Steps to Avoid Being Fined for Your Telemarketing Campaign

by Julie Knight 16 Jul, 2013

1. Screen your lists against TPS/CTPS

It is a legal requirement for businesses to screen lists of phone numbers to be used for telemarketing against the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) and Corporate Telephone Preference Service (CTPS) registers, according to the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR).

PECR prohibits organisations from making unsolicited live sales and marketing calls to individuals registered on the TPS. The only exception is where the person has given their consent to a specific named organisation to be called.

Organisations must also screen against their own internal suppression files. This will remove individuals who do not wish to be contacted by unsolicited live sales or marketing calls from your lists.

Note: for business to business users, screening against the Corporate Telephone Preference Service (CTPS) is an additional legal requirement.

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2. Accurate and up-to-date data lists

Data lists must be screened against the TPS register no more than 28 days before any unsolicited calls are made and  data purchased from a third-party supplier must have been screened against TPS no more than 28 days prior to its supply. Due diligence must be carried out on your third party suppliers with supporting evidence of screening provided. If the data is not screened, you need to screen your lists against the TPS register yourself.

3. Managing the ‘do not call’ list

Telemarketers are obliged to manage their own internal suppression file.  The file, or ‘do not call’ list, should contain the details of people who’ve requested not to be contacted by your organisation. Lists need to be screened against this suppression file to respect the opt-out decisions of individuals.  Organisations need to have a process in place that records these requests from customers.

4. Well-trained staff

Staff training is integral in keeping employees aware of their TPS and internal suppression file responsibilities.  Screening your data lists internally against the TPS register and your own suppression file is the best way to guarantee that your organisation does not contact anyone who has opted out. Additionally, keeping up to date with the latest legal and TPS updates is essential so that your organisation is aware of its requirements and any changes.

Why some telemarketers aren’t afraid of the law

Not all telemarketers follow the law or the TPS regulations.  Some organisations use inadequate or incorrectly implemented screening processes. Others may not fully be aware of their obligations.

Some telemarketers are not carrying out adequate due diligence on their third party data suppliers to make sure that the data that they are purchasing is being properly screened or permissioned. All third-party data needs to be screened against the TPS register and it is your responsibility to ensure the data you use is compliant.

Most significantly, there are a number of unscrupulous organisations who chose to ignore the regulations and the wishes of consumers. These companies do not invest in a TPS licence and often withhold their identity when calling to avoid investigation.

Most importantly companies weren’t afraid to break the law because little or no action was taken by the ICO to stop them from operating outside the law.

Now the ICO is actively pursuing telemarketers who flout the law, and are looking to exercise their enforcement powers by hopefully issuing further monetary penalties – not complying could prove extremely costly to both an organisation’s reputation and finances. Do you want to take the risk?

Common Data Management Mistakes

Topics: Telemarketing

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