Understanding the Do Not Call List
Real Estate |
First, let’s start by emphasizing that we are not a consumer protection or privacy lawyers. For purposes of this article, we are speaking in general terms in order to give you an idea of what the Do Not Call list is and how to access resources to assist you in being compliant with these consumer rules. I’d like to avoid getting into spot analysis of hypothetical or real world scenarios because like any legal analysis there is a lot of gray area.
What is the Do Not Call List?
This list of phone numbers comes from the Do Not Call Registry which is managed by the Federal Trade Commission.
The registry was created in 2003 to offer consumers a choice regarding telemarketing calls.
These rules can be enforced by the FTC and local state officials. There used to be a separate Georgia Do Not Call List, but that list was merged into the Do Not Call Registry maintained by the FTC.
Fines for violating these rules can approach $43,280.00 PER CALL!
You can access the registry by completing the application found on the FTC website. The first 5 area codes are free, but we believe there is a base setup fee.
These rules can apply to realtors, but just because a number is on the Do Not Call list doesn’t automatically prohibit you from calling that number.
If you are making straight up cold calls, you need to scrub your list of numbers against the Do Not Call Registry. When you buy leads from a 3rd party marketing company, they should certify that their list has been scrubbed. Check the good through date on the numbers provided by a 3rd party. Your list should be less than 30 days old. If someone is on the DNC list, and you don’t have a preexisting business relationship with that person, you shouldn’t call.
Expired and Withdrawn Listings
Generally speaking, if you have pre-existing business relationship with someone on the DNC list, you can still call them for up to 18 months after the last business transaction.
However, the GAR Listing Agreement specifically gives consent from the seller to be called by the Broker, even if the Seller is on the Do Not Call list. This consent SURVIVES closing.
The Broker is defined as the Broker and Affiliated licensees, so if it becomes an expired listing, ANY agent in the Brokerage can call the Seller to market the property as a new listing. If you change brokerages, you do not qualify under the terms of the listing agreement. However, you probably do qualify under the 18 month rule since you did business with that person directly.
Again, and this applies in any situation, whenever you call someone to solicit their business, if they ask you to stop calling them, then you must stop calling them.
Another important point to note is that the DNC rules aren’t the only rules governing who you can call. If you call a number that’s not on the DNC list, but that number is tied to a property that is already listed by another agent, then you run afoul of the Georgia real estate commission.
If you cold call numbers that have been scrubbed against the DNC list, you should also verify that the person you are calling hasn’t already listed the house with another agent.