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Real Estate Agents: Are You DNC Compliant?

Real Estate DNC Compliance

Posted by Rick Feller on Mon, 10/09/2017 - 06:26

Because real estate agents are independent contractors, there is an assumption that DNC rules do not apply. After all, they only apply to big businesses and you are an individual who will go unnoticed by FTC regulators – both assumptions are false.

The following tips provide clarification on how to grow your business while maintaining DNC compliant. They will allow you to put some distance between your business and potential lawsuits from angry contacts.

Types of Potential Clients

First, there are the two types of potential clients who are often targeted by real estate telemarketers. Both contain pitfalls that could put you in jeopardy of violating DNC regulations:

  1. For Sale By Owner (FSBO). As an agent, you may contact a seller marketing a FSBO property about your client’s potential interest in purchasing the property—even if the seller’s number is on the National DNC Registry. The stipulation is that as a buyer’s representative, you may only discuss your client’s interest in the property. You cannot use your client’s interest as a way to solicit the listing. Doing so puts you in violations of DNC regulations.
  2. Expired Listings.  As an agent, you can call homeowners who originally listed their home with you for up to 18 months after the contract expiration date. Calling during that period is not a violation as long as the homeowner has not requested that you no longer call them.

IMPORTANT:  A solicitation by an agent for a listing from a FSBO with a number registered on the DNC Registry is illegal. The fine for violating the National DNC list is up to $40,000. In addition, there could be more fines for violations of individual state laws which carry their own fines.

Tips For DNC Compliance

  1. Search the DNC registry at least once every 31 days and drop those numbers from your call list. Twelve states have their own DNC list of numbers that you will also need to drop from calling. 
  2. You can call anyone on the DNC list if you have first obtained prior written permission to call.
  3. You can call customers if you have a prior business relationship with the property owner that ended within the last 18 months.
  4. You can call FSBOs only if you have a buyer for their property, but not to solicit their listing.

IMPORTANT:  Safe harbor exists for agents that inadvertently call someone on the DNC lists if your company has written calling procedures, provides training on DNC regulations, has accessed the national registry within the last three months, and maintains a company-specific list of numbers not to call.