(July 19, 2019) Real estate agents must comply with telemarketing laws.
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), operated by the Federal Trade Commission, prohibits telemarketing calls to consumers who place their number on the Do Not Call Registry.
This applies to any call that solicits the purchase of goods or services, and includes calls seeking to list or buy a property.
The following are exemptions to the Do Not Call Registry: (these situations are allowed even when consumers are registered with the Do Not Call Registry)
• Only applies to personal phone numbers, not business lines or business-to-business calls.
• If you had a prior business relationship, you may call for up to 18 months after you last did business with them.
• You can also call a consumer up to three months after they made an inquiry about services.
• You may call the consumer if you have written permission.
Realtors frequently call For Sale by Owner (FSBO) and Expired Multiple List listings.
If the seller’s number is listed on the Do Not Call Registry, real estate agents are actually prohibited from calling FSBO sellers unless they have a client interested in the FSBO property.
As it relates to expired listings, there has been an increase in class action lawsuits against brokerages that are instructing agents to “cold call” consumers whose property listings had recently expired.
If a consumer is on the Do Not Call registry, and you place an unsolicited call to them, by statute, this is a violation where real estate agents may be held liable for up to $1,500 per violation.
The National Association of Realtors offers the following as best practices for real estate agents related to following TCPA rules:
• Develop, implement and follow a written Do Not Call policy.
• Train personnel in the Do Not Call policy.
• Access the Do Not Call registry every month and scrub call lists against the Do Not Call registry.
• Maintain an internal, company-specific, Do Not Call list honoring persons requests not to be called.
– Lauren Bunting is an Associate Broker with Bunting Realty, Inc. in Berlin.