The marketing compliance waters for companies that sell via telephone have always been known to be choppy. But one fitness chain found itself in a bit of a storm when it started leaving pre-recorded voicemails to customers without permission.Last week, a New Jersey federal judge threw out a lawsuit against the chain when he ruled a single, unsolicited automated dialing system that leaves a prerecorded voicemail is not harmful. U.S. District Judge Peter G. Sheridan dismissed a proposed class action suit that alleged Work Out World Inc. violated the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Under the federal TCPA regulations, a prerecorded message may not be delivered to a cell phone with prior express permission.
This ruling brings some much-needed common sense to the TPCA/DNC lawsuit frenzy, while further proving how volatile the regulatory environment is for companies that market to consumers. An appeal is expected.
You are at the government’s mercy when it comes to following the rules because laws and regulations at the State and Federal levels are continuously changing and, in most cases, becoming more restrictive. Not only does this make it more difficult for you to stay ahead of the risk of fines, but it also creates a sea of uncertainty which is like “kryptonite” to a growing company. A judge could rule in your favor one day, while the next could take the consumer’s side leaving you to pay heavy fines and/or damages (either financial or brand). Staying afloat in the ocean of marketing regulations saps you of critical resources that could be better used to facilitate growth. In a constantly changing environment, how do you ensure smooth sailing and avoid lawsuits and costly fines?
Though navigating the maze of ambiguity can be a lot to handle, however, you should never captain the ship alone. Technology is your friend! Just like GPS, technology can act as the automatic compass to avoid the perils of the open water, and lead you through only the safest and serene waters to focus on what’s important, and enjoy the journey.
It’s nice to see a lighthouse of sanity from the judge in this WoW case. Hopefully, it’s the start of a more pro-business climate in the months to come.