Country Regulation Short View

The significant expansion of predictive dialing has considerably increased the number of complaints from consumers, since they experienced high levels of abandoned calls – a feature of predictive dialer usage in all countries where this technology is deployed.

Countries have adopted measures to protect consumers. These measures consist in:  

  • implementing “do-not-call” lists
  • reducing the abandoned calls 
  • transmitting information about the identity of the organisation on whose behalf the call is being made

Creation of the “Do-Not-Call” List

In order to give consumers an opportunity to limit the telemarketing calls they receive, many countries have adopted the “do-not-call” list. Businesses are required to review the list regularly and remove all the prospects included on it from their internal lists. Telemarketers are allowed to call consumers from the do-not-call lists if there is an established business relationship.

In the USA, registration for the National Do Not Call Registry started on June 27, 2003. Due to the Do-Not Call Improvement Act of 2007, telephone numbers on the list are now permanent. Complaints concerning telemarketing calls to homes and personal cell phones can be made to the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission. Obstructing consumers’ attempts to be placed on the Do Not Call registry is prohibited by law.

In the UK residential users have been able to register on the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) since May 1999 under the Telecommunications (Data Protection and Privacy) Regulations 1999. The TPS have no enforcement power; all complaints are passed on to the Information Commissioner’s Office (UK).

In France there is the “liste orange” for people who do not wish their data to be used for direct marketing purposes.

In Germany a “do-not-call” list wouldn’t make any sense, because of the restrictions concerning outbound calls to consumers: they are only allowed if the telemarketer has an explicit agreement from the consumer.

In all these countries a consumer can prohibit individual telemarketers from calling by asking the caller to put the called number on the company’s do-not-call list.

Reduction of Abandoned Calls

Authorities adopted abandoned call rules based on claims that such calls invade consumers’ privacy and cause inconvenience by requiring them to answer their phones only to hear “dead air”.

In USA, on October 1, 2003, the FTC set some rules in order to reduce the abandoned calls. According to these requirements, the telemarketer must:

  • use technology that ensures abandonment of no more than 3%. The FTC has modified the method for measuring the maximum allowable rate of call abandonment which became effective on October 1, 2008: it will now calculate call abandonment over a 30-day period, rather than on a daily basis; 
  • allow the phone to ring for 15 seconds or 4 rings before disconnecting an unanswered call, to allow consumers a reasonable time to answer and not be subjected to "dead air" after a few rings;
  • maintain records documenting adherence to the requirements above.

In UK, Ofcom have published their revised policy on 01 March 2006. It required that

  • Abandoned call rates must be less than 3% in any 24 hour period.
  • Unanswered calls must ring for minimum 15 seconds before being terminated.
  • Abandoned telephone calls should not be re-dialed for at least 72 hours, unless an agent is available.
  • Suitable records must be kept.

Transmission of Caller Identification Information

In order to eliminate consumer frustration over “unknown” callers, the US authorities specify that all telemarketers must transmit their phone number and name to caller ID services when placing calls to consumers.

If an agent is unavailable within two seconds of a live person answering the call, telemarketers must leave the consumer a recorded message that includes only:

  • the seller’s name
  • telephone number which the consumer can call back during normal business hours to ask questions or opt-out 
  • the purpose of the call (telemarketing).

It is also specified that the recorded message cannot be a sales message. It must include only the 3 elements listed above.

In UK, Ofcom requires that:

  • Within two seconds of the call being answered, a recorded message about the company calling must be played.
  • Calling line identification must be presented on all outbound calls from call centres using automated calling systems.

In France, CNIL has specified that any pre-recorded message must inform about the identity of the organization on whose behalf the call is being made.

 

Learn more about: 

Functioning, features, types and benefits of predictive dialers.

Predictive Dialer Tutorial

Cost of predictive dialing systems, factors to consider in deciding which predictive dialer to purchase.

Predictive Dialing Questions and Answers

Factors affecting predictive dialers' performance.

Predictive Dialers - Overview

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