December 18, 2013

Court Rules Telemarketers Must Comply with Laws of Each State They Call

The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit recently reversed an Indiana federal court ruling that the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) preempted Indiana’s state law banning a variety of automated telephone calls.

Automated calls are tightly regulated by the TCPA – especially since the FCC revised the law in October – but that law’s “savings clause” expressly states that it does not supersede state laws that impose stricter standards.

The appeals court’s ruling affirms that telemarketers must comply with the calling laws of every state they call into, as well as all applicable federal laws. This case merely confirmed what telemarketers have been struggling with many years—compliance of federal law is not enough. They must also understand and apply the law of each local jurisdiction to which they are calling.

Regulations like these can vary from state to state:

  • Prohibition on calling cell phones, regardless of how the call is dialed
  • Time of day restrictions (call curfew), including holiday and state of emergency telemarketing prohibitions
  • State-specific Do Not Call lists
  • How long you must honor opt-outs
  • No rebuttal and permission to continue requirements

Circuit Judge Ilana Rovner acknowledged that “havoc” could result if autodialers were forced to comply with 50 different state laws regulations how and when they can place calls, but added that Patriotic Veterans Inc., an Illinois-based nonprofit political advocacy group that challenged the Indiana law, hadn’t proven that it was impossible to comply with both the TCPA and state’s law.

Gryphon clients already know that it’s possible: Gryphon’s Core Phone automatically applies all state laws, as well as federal laws, to every applicable call as its dialed. In addition, Gryphon’s cloud-based call recording system can automatically record calls and ensure compliance with laws regulating disclosures or content.