How does the recent TCPA ruling affect overseas data collection?
In Europe, the use of automatic or predictive dialing for telephone data collection (either B2B or B2C) has become an industry standard in recent years. Predictive dialing can be used for both cell phone or landline numbers. However, when dialing into the US and especially when being sub-contracted by a US-based agency, the recent changes of TCPA must be taken into account:
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) (47 U.S.C. 227 , 47 CFR 64.1200) prohibits the use of an “automatic telephone dialing system” to contact “any telephone number assigned to a …cellular telephone service” without “express prior consent” from the party being called.
Various options for data collection agencies exist:
- Manual dialing for all US numbers (very costly)
- Predictive dialing into the US (risk of severe fines)
- Filtering of cell phone numbers and either removing them or dialing manually.
In Europe, the removal of cell phone numbers would be fairly straightforward: Specific numbering blocks are allocated especially for cell phone numbers. However, US cell phone numbers are listed within area code blocks and can be ported from landline to cell phone.
Thus by just checking the format of a US number, it is possible to recognize a cell phone number. Nevertheless, as it can be seen from the figure below, there is also the option that landline phone numbers are ported to a cell phone number.
Companies which only check for the format of numbers or companies that do not check run the risk of acquiring severe fines.
Furthermore, many clients or end-clients now require data collection agencies to check for the type of phone numbers so that the cell phone numbers are either removed or dialed manually.
Sample Solutions offers a service to mitigate the risk of severe fines. Either via our online system or via an API it is possible to check batches of phone numbers on a pay-per-usage basis which provides a more cost-efficient than a comparable alternative to systems in the US which require a large set-up cost and very rigid pricing.
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