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The ‘Please Do Not Call’ Rule

The federal Do Not Call Registry is not without its flaws, but dealers are nonetheless bound by its rule. Compliance expert offers a primer for sales and BDC managers.

May 2018, F&I and Showroom - Feature

by Gil Van Over - Also by this author

Some professional sports teams periodically change uniform styles, forcing fans to buy the latest gear — except me. I proudly wear my old gear while others have the shiny new stuff. The same goes for every new smartphone that hits the market touting new features that supposedly differentiate it from the old version.

However, there is one way the smartphone market can get me to upgrade.

See, I continue to receive spam or robocalls even though I am registered on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)’s National Do Not Call Registry. I typically use a feature on my phone to “Block This Caller” and save the phone number to a common contact name. Hey, the telemarketers have more phone numbers than I have time.

"Dealerships generally do not leverage robocalling technology to make phone calls, but many have active and successful business development centers to help drive vehicle sales. There are some restrictions on the calls the BDC members or salespeople can make to generate sales."

So, wouldn’t it be wonderful if I could click on another option to “File a ‘Do-Not-Call’ Complaint”? It could be next to “Block This Caller.” The service provider has the basic information needed to file a complaint: your name and phone number, the caller’s phone number, and the date and time of the phone call.

The FTC manages a list of consumers who register with its National Do Not Call Registry. Before a business makes calls to consumers trying to sell something, the business is required to confirm the phone number is not on the list.

Essentially, this means the telemarketer trying to sell me a timeshare in an exotic location should not have called in the first place, as I am registered. Yet the calls keep coming. Some of the calls are coming in from spoofed caller IDs with the same first six numbers as my phone number.

The FTC cites the increasing use of caller ID spoofing by sophisticated robocallers as one reason I keep receiving these calls.

Dealerships generally do not leverage robocalling technology to make phone calls, but many have active and successful business development centers to help drive vehicle sales. There are some restrictions on the calls the BDC members or salespeople can make to generate sales:

  • The dealership must scrub the number against both the National Do Not Call Registry and the dealer-specific do-not-call list.
  • No calls are allowed before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
  • You must not use autodialers or prerecorded messages. 
  • Calls can only be placed from the dealer-approved landline. 
  • You may not block the caller ID.

As a best practice, a dealership should employ the basic compliance model as outlined in other FTC rules.

First, designate a telemarketing coordinator who is responsible for implementing, administering, managing, and auditing the program. The coordinator also will provide periodic reports to dealership owners or senior management.

Next, develop and implement a written policy on how employees are to comply with this federal requirement. Since this requirement has been in place for nearly 15 years, hopefully, you are at a point where you simply need to review and refresh a current policy.

Then create a dealership-specific do-not-call list or confirm that your present list is complete and accurate. This list must include any consumer who opts out through your Privacy Notice process or has specifically said, “Do not call me again!”

Finally, periodically train all employees on your do-not-call policy and document their training with either a signed acknowledgment form or with a class roster. “Periodic” usually means at least annually — optional, but recommended.

Until my new smartphone feature takes hold, you can add yourself to the federal registry at DoNotCall.gov. Good luck and good selling.

Gil Van Over is the executive director of Automotive Compliance Education (ACE), the founder and president of gvo3 & Associates, and the author of “Automotive Compliance in a Digital World.” Email him at gvo@bobit.com.

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