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Real Estate Agents: Are You DNC Compliant?

A large home with a "FOR SALE" sign

Posted by Chris Alarie on Mon, 10/09/2017 - 06:26

Table of Contents

Overview

There is an assumption that Do Not Call (DNC) and Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) regulations do not apply to real estate agents because they are independent contractors. Big businesses are often seen in the spotlight for violating these statutes and individuals may think that their actions will go unnoticed by Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulators. These assumptions are false. Compliance is mandatory for real estate agents.

Real Estate Clients

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 that seller’s number is on the National DNC Registry. The pitfall 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 violation of DNC regulations.

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 of time is allowed as long as the homeowner has not requested that you do not call them. If they do issue such a request, cease all communications with the immediately.

Do Not Call Lists

National Do Not Call List

Search the National Do Not Call Registry at least once every 31 days and suppress those numbers from your call lists.

Internal DNC List

Keep your own Internal Do Not Call list. When a consumer asks to be put on your do not call list, you should honor that request immediately.

State DNC Lists

12 individual states have their own Do Not Call lists which you must also check. Suppress those numbers from your call lists.

Safe Harbor

If you accidentally call the wrong person, a safe harbor exists from civil penalties if the number was on the national DNC list. This safe harbor can be claimed if you can prove that you have done all the things you can to be compliant with the rules. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Having written policies and procedures in place and training other agents to follow them
  • Maintaining an internal DNC list
  • Scrubbing against the National DNC Registry
  • Scrubbing against the individual state DNC lists

Exemptions

Established Business Relationship (EBR) Exemption

If you can demonstrate that you have an established business relationship with a consumer, and they have not asked to be on your internal DNC list, you can make live calls to that consumer even if they are on the National Do Not Call Registry. This exemption does not allow you to make automated calls or to use pre-recorded messages. This exemption is limited to 18 months from the initial purchase, rental, lease, or financial transaction between you and the consumer.

Written Permission to Call Exemption

You can call or text someone even if their number is on the National Do Not Call Registry if you have prior express written consent. The consent must include the number to be called, and a written signature or electronic confirmation via a button press or conspicuous checkbox.