Preventing class action suits for phone solicitations
To present the ins and outs of class action suits over the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, WANADA invited an expert, Ryan Donovan to the Automotive Law panel. Donovan is a class action lawyer with firm Bailey Glasser, LLP, who has represented dealers and other businesses accused of TCPA violations.
TCPA violations can total up to $1,500 for each illegal call. That means with autodialing, a business can rack up $100 million in liability in short order, Donovan said.
Saying It was a mistake, we wonêt do it againê is no defense, he added. TCPA class action lawyers have their sights on auto dealers.
The TCPA is a 1991 law with three prohibitions for businesses:
« Prerecorded calls to residential phone lines, for which the business needs prior written consent from the consumer. That marketing method is mostly gone.
« Autodialed calls to wireless numbers.
« Telemarketing calls to numbers on the Do Not Call Registry, unless the dealership has an existing business relationship with the person called. That means a transaction in the past 18 months, or an inquiry in the past three months.
Donovan emphasized that a dealership may be liable for calls made on its behalf, too, even if the dealer does not physically dial the calls.
He offered a list of doês and donêts.
« Donêt rely on your vendors for TCPA compliance.
« Donêt use new technologies that purport to fall outside the scope of TCPA.
« Get TCPA-compliant consent from the people you plan to call.
« Develop a checklist of strategies for obtaining consent.
« Record and communicate consent to your vendors.
« Identify all sources of customer data intake.
« Identify all outbound communications subject to TCPA.
For Phase 2 compliance:
« Develop written TCPA compliance policies.
« Train key managers and employees.
« Create a firewall between the dealership and the vendors.
« Renegotiate vendor relationships.
« Identify new threats.
« And, importantly, do a risk assessment of new technologies and marketing strategies.
Emailed marketing messages are generally not subject to the TCPA, Donovan said, but they are regulated by other laws.
Dealers who have further questions may email Donovan at firstname.lastname@example.org.Download Bulletin PDF