The FCC’s revised rules for telemarketers and text marketers, taking effect in October, could signal a big shift in how companies direct market, posits Julie O’Neill, a Morrison & Foerster attorney specializing in privacy issues. One section prohibits the use of an autodialer to call or text cell phones for marketing purposes, unless the caller has the called party’s signed, written consent. “It’s almost impossible to tell which numbers on a call list are cell phones, so [almost] every list will have to be scrubbed,” she says.
The new consent obligations also require new disclosures. Because the new rules will apply retroactively, even companies with agreements in place must re-sign every customer if their agreements don’t meet the new rules’ disclosure and signature requirements. “Companies that want to continue marketing by phone or text message are working hard to come into compliance by the rules’ mid-October effective date,” she says.
Complying with these rules could prove cumbersome and costly, adds John Delaney, a partner in Morrison & Foerster’s New York office. He predicts more companies will ditch the dialup and focus on social media marketing. “It’s a natural transition for the industry because social media is a much more engaged interaction with potential customers,” he says.