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Is there a national DNC safe harbor?

The federal government’s National Do Not Call (DNC) Registry is managed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) under the auspices of the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR). Within that regulatory framework, there are best practices guidelines that, when paired with supporting documentation, allow for the possibility of claiming safe harbor.

As a legal defense, this safe harbor helps to protect companies from inadvertent mistakes that violate DNC rules. It provides a defense against consumer allegations by allowing the calling party to offer proof that they had followed those best practices as defined under the TSR.
In order to invoke a safe harbor defense, a telemarketer is required to provide documentation of the following:

  • Policies and Procedures
    The company must have written policies and procedures for complying with DNC list requirements as outlined by the appropriate regulatory agencies.
  • Employee Training
    The company must have a program in place for training employees on the aforementioned policies and procedures. There must also be a process for internal monitoring to ensure compliance.
  • In-House DNC Suppression List
    For the purposes of call suppression, the company must maintain an internal list of telephone numbers from consumers who directly requested not to be called by the company or any third-party telemarketer.
  • National DNC Lists
    The company and third-party telemarketers must access the National DNC Registry no more than 31 days before calling any consumer. The company must maintain records documenting this process of obtaining the list and suppressing phone numbers from its calling file.