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July 2009 : Wireless Compliance Update and Vendor Selection Tips

by Ryan Thurman, Director of Sales & Marketing with Contact Center Compliance..

When we ask our clients and prospect audience the top challenges facing the contact center and collections industry the comment that always rises to the top is how to deal with the rising amount of consumers who only have a cell phone number as their point of contact. Telemarketing and collections firms very often employ the latest technology in many facets of their operations including using automated and predictive dialers to increase their productivity and generate more revenue.

The main wireless compliance issues for the collections industry include the fact that consumers are very sensitive to both telemarketing and collections calls on their cell phones; moreover, the FCC does not allow calls using ADAD (Automatic Dialing and Announcing Device) to consumers that did not originally provide their cell phone number during the transaction that led to the original debt. The second part is a bit confusing but it helps to look at the history of the legislation. The FCC traditionally held that companies are banned from using auto or predictive dialers to contact wireless numbers unless the consumer gives his express consent. In response to a petition by the ACA, the FCC ruled that a consumer who provides his or her cell phone number on a credit application is consenting to receive automated debt collection calls. The FCC stressed that the consumer must have instructed the collector to call his cell phone or have provided the number on the credit application. Collections companies cannot use automated or predictive dialer technology to dial a cell phone number that was already in its database from another source or by using a data service such as skip tracing to locate and call the number.

Many legal advisors have recommended that collections firms employ technology to scrub wireless numbers when using automated calling technology, as the burden of proof lies with the company responsible for the calls. Removing wireless numbers via scrubbing of course removes the potential for any liability associated with a call to such numbers. Alternatively, scrubbing can serve as a means to identify and segregate cell phone numbers before campaigns are launched. By segregating cell phone numbers, a debtor can employ best practices to such calls, e.g., to limit number of call attempts to the wireless number in any 24 hour period so as to minimize potential frivolous consumer complaints from vexatious litigators. We have a number of ACA and CAC members who have setup services with our platform for automated wireless scrubbing due to this rationale who have seen a decrease in their complaints on their dialer calls. Accurate wireless scrubbing also allows you to identify wireless numbers so that you can either preview or manual dial numbers as guided by your legal counsel.

Questions to consider when researching wireless compliance options:

  • Do you have a web interface with real time reporting?
  • How often do you update your wireless data?
  • Are you an authorized reseller for the NeuStar wireless ported list?
  • Can you identify carrier wireless numbers (even older legacy numbers)?
  • Are you integrated with any dialing platforms?
  • How can the process be automated?
  • How secure is the data provided for scrubbing? Do you have redundancy on your servers and network?
  • Do you guarantee the accuracy of your scrub results?
  • Can your vendor provide links to a landline number or addresses when a cell phone is a provided?
  • Do you have an API for your services?

These are just some of the questions you should ask a potential vendor. It's always a good idea to test out services first. We offer free trials for customers to test out batch files and ask questions. Ryan Thurman is the Director of Sales and Marketing for Contact Center Compliance, a leading compliance innovator based in northern California providing accurate do not call and wireless scrubbing services for over six years. He is an expert in contact center compliance integration and infrastructure technology, specializing in database centralization and real time automation.

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