Today the FTC released a staff opinion letter stating that, effective May 12, 2017 (six months from now), it will no longer distinguish soundboard calls from more traditional prerecorded robocalls.
This is unfortunate, because most outbound robocalls require prior written consent under the Telemarketing Sales Rule. Avatar calls involve a live agent playing prerecorded snippets instead of speaking in their own natural voice. In some cases, the agent can handle multiple avatar calls at once. The FTC has been receiving a growing number of avatar-related complaints in 2016.
Certain exemptions will still exist though, including for certain inbound, non-profit and non-telemarketing calls. Even in those cases, behavioral rules will apply. One can only hope that industry members, along with the new presidential administration, will soon challenge this policy decision.
Alarming Change to TSR Impacts Soundboard Technology
The Soundboard Association (SBA) lost its battle to prevent implementation in April 2017.
Read the follow-up article about the court's decision regarding Soundboard Technology and its impact on the telemarketing industry.