Privacy in very important in our United States and one of the laws created to help us maintain it is that of the Do Not Call Registry. There are several details about this law that significantly effect Mortgage Loan Originators that are telemarketing to generate new or repeat business. Not being aware of this law, or it’s consequences, can be a costly mistake.
Most everyone knows that if you don’t want to receive phone calls soliciting for some product or service, you can have your number listed on the National Do Not Call Registry. However, many do not know that a company must maintain their own do not call list as well.
In order to be in compliance with the DNC rules, anyone who is making outbound calls to sell a product or service, must maintain a national and an internal do not call list. The national list must be updated every three months. This means that if you are calling phone numbers for a sales or marketing reason you must cross reference that number to the National DNC list and that list must not be more than three months old. And, the buck doesn’t stop there. Companies are also required to keep and maintain an internal list as well. That internal list is required to be updated every 30 days. Therefore, you must cross-reference the number you are calling to the internal do not call list and the national do not call list and make sure the number is not on either one. For example, if you work for Best Mortgage and you are making phone calls to drum up some new business, you should be cross checking the numbers you are dialing with the National Do Not Call list and Best Mortgage’s internal do not call list.
The consequences to calling someone either list can be quite severe. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are responsible for managing and enforcing the Do Not Call Registry. Either department or the state, can impose a fine up to $16,000 per incident for calling someone who has asked not to.
As with many laws in the mortgage industry there are exceptions, and this law is no exception. When it comes to the Do Not Call Registry we have what’s called an EBR or Established Business Relationship. There are two options under the EBR. If you have closed a loan with someone who IS on the National Do Not Call list then you have the right to contact that person for eighteen (18) months. If someone has inquired about a product or service with you or your company or you have taken an application on a loan that did not close, you will then have three (3) months to contact that person for a sales or marketing reason. It is very important to realize that there is no established business relationship for someone who has requested to be on a company’s do not call list. Once an individual has requested to be put on your company’s do not call list, after 30 days he/she should no longer receive phone calls from your institution…regardless of whether or not they are on the national list.
Remember, the Do Not Call rules apply to phone calls for a sales or marketing reason. This also applies to telemarketers who are soliciting consumers on behalf of a third party. Selling basically means someone who provides or offers to provide a good or service in exchange for payment. However, the rule does not apply to phone calls made for a non-sales reason. Therefore, it would be okay to contact someone who is on either the national or internal list to say Happy Birthday, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Anniversary etc. It would also be okay to contact a person on either list for a customer service or follow up reason, as long as you are not trying to sell them any product or service. Of course, if someone asks you about a product or service you are fully within your rights to discuss it.
The most important thing to remember when it comes to the Do Not Call Registry is that you should always cross-check a number you are dialing to that of the national and internal DNC list. If one is on the list, double check to see if that number allows for an Established Business Relationship. Additionally, if one is on the internal list then you may not call that person as there is no EBR for one on the internal list. If you do make a call that is unwanted by the consumer and you are reported a $16,000 fine could follow.
For more information on the rules of the Do Not Call Registry please visit https://www.donotcall.gov/default.aspx