Voice API Rules and Regulations
For companies that want a more personalized communication strategy, voice APIs are effective ways to connect with customers. They allow near-instant contact with large numbers of customers, no matter how geographically dispersed they may be. These components— the personalization and efficiency— make voice APIs ideal for both small and large businesses.
There are a number of voice API rules that companies need to be aware of to avoid sending voice messages that are not compliant with federal regulations and laws. Non-compliance, whether intentional or accidental, can result in steep fines and other penalties.
Breaking voice API regulations will also hurt your brand image and customer relations. Customers are more likely to block, opt-out, or otherwise stop interacting with businesses that gain a reputation for sending spam. Keep reading to learn more about applicable laws and policies and how you can ensure your company and voice campaigns stays compliant.
Voice API Rules, Regulations, Laws and Compliance
There are voice API laws that all companies must comply with if they want to use this communication and marketing medium. These rules are designed to benefit both customers and companies and promote healthy relationships between the parties. Violating these rules can have serious consequences, ranging from legal troubles to financial penalties and more.
What’s Considered Spam?
Spam is essentially unwanted messages, though there are different variants. Spam can include, but is not limited to, unwanted voice messages, messages sent to a user without that user’s consent, unsolicited commercial messages or advertisements, and messages that do not give users the ability to opt-out of future contact.
All spam is illegal and users may take action against companies who send them spam, from filing a complaint to taking more serious legal action. They may also spread notice of a company’s tendency to spam through word of mouth, potentially hurting a company’s image and reputation on a larger scale.
Examples of Spam
Spam voice messages can come in many different forms. Some spam messages sound legitimate, as though you may have signed up for a company’s campaign and forgotten. Others are more clearly spam and may be poorly recorded, such as with obvious or loud background noises or incorrect grammar and sentence structure.
Once identified as spam, users should immediately block the associated phone number. If necessary, users can also file a formal complaint against the company.
Federal Communications Commission
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is the agency that regulates communications like voice and SMS messages and sets laws, regulations, and policies regarding those communications. The FCC is also the primary agency through which customers can file complaints about businesses who are sending spam voice messages.
In coordination with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the FCC also established the Do Not Call Registry, a national archive where people can input their phone number and request that they not be contacted by telemarketers or other agencies. Companies who continue to contact people on the DNC registry can be reported for spam.
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Telephone Consumer Protection Act
The FCC created the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) in 1991 to regulate how and under what circumstances companies could contact customers. Though it originally applied to landlines and corded telephones, it has since been updated to cover modern technology such as wireless phones and smartphones. As such, the TCPA is one of the guiding pieces of legislation for compliant voice campaigns.
Below is a brief list of some of the more important points in the TCPA:
- You must receive a customer’s explicit, written permission before placing them on your contact list— that is, they must opt-in to your campaigns and be aware that you are going to regularly contact them
- You can’t use a preexisting business relationship to avoid asking customers for permission to send them voice campaigns
- Similarly, customers who have already opted-in can’t give you permission to send messages to their friends or other contacts
- You must regularly review the national DNC registry and remove any customers who are registered from your contact lists
What all this boils down to is that you need consent from each individual customer before adding them to your campaign list. And if they revoke that consent in any way, either through opting out or by signing up for the DNC list, you have to stop sending them voice messages.
Keep in mind, this is by no means a comprehensive list of all rules companies will need to adhere to in order to remain compliant. You should thoroughly read all applicable regulations to ensure your voice campaigns remain compliant and informative.
Fees Associated With Spam
There are heavy fines associated with sending spam messages, especially if a company is a repeat offender. Statutory fines are $500 per messages for unintentional spam messages and $1,500 per message for intentional spam messages.
Such fines can quickly pile up for companies that use voice APIs to send bulk voice messages, even if they pay the minimum amount for unintentional spam. If you are accused of sending spam, your voice API provider may also temporarily freeze your account until the allegations are resolved.
Avoid Sending Spam Voice Messages
To avoid sending spam messages, carefully review all voice API policies and legislation. Ensure your company closely follows all guidelines prior to contacting customers. Request clarification for any laws that you find unclear, complicated, or contradictory.
The phrase ‘better to be safe than sorry’ may be a cliché, but it’s the best approach to sending voice messages. Sending spam can create serious issues for your company, even if it’s accidental. Erring on the side of caution can prevent your business from losing customers, paying fines, and fending off account suspensions.
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