Cannabis Business Telemarketing And Robocalls – How To Avoid Problems

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Love it or hate it, telemarketing is still a legal marketing tactic – as long as companies follow the rules set out in the 1991 Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). One of the most important things that TCPA says companies may not do when marketing their product or service over the phone is using autodialers and recorded messages to call consumers in the United States.

Unfortunately, many of us still get these calls every day. In fact, YouMail researchers found that there were 58.5 million robocalls made in the US in 2019. The number declined in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, 45.9 robocalls were tracked at a time when most of the country was under lockdown.

Recently, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) stepped up its efforts to reduce robocalls by putting pressure on air carriers to fight them and filing lawsuits against five companies known to disobey the TCPA.

Add these lawsuits to the numerous individual and class action lawsuits filed each year in the U.S. in response to unsolicited phone calls (a number that has increased 580% over the past five years), and it’s clear that we The problem is still a long way to go.

Therefore, it is extremely important that companies in and with the cannabis industry avoid telemarketing mistakes that can lead to a lot of negative branding and expensive legal issues (fines can range from $ 500 to $ 1,500 per event).

Let’s take a closer look at how to keep your cannabis or cannabis business out of trouble.

The rules of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991

When the Phone Consumer Protection Act was passed in 1991, cell phone use was not widespread and there were no smartphones. The goal of the TCPA was to end unsolicited marketing phone calls and faxes early in the morning, late at night, and on Sundays. As communication has changed, the law has been changed to keep up.

The provisions of the TCPA are defined in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, Title 47, Chapter 1, Subchapter B, Part 64, Subsection L §64.1200 Delivery Restrictions. Here are some of the key phone call-related languages ​​that you should understand:

(a) No person or organization may:
(1) Unless otherwise specified in paragraph (a) (2) of this section, you can initiate a telephone call (with the exception of an emergency call or with the prior express consent of the called party) using an automatic telephone dialing system or an artificial or recorded voice : (i) to any emergency number, including an emergency line and an emergency line for a hospital, doctor or service bureau, health facility, poison control center, or fire protection or law enforcement agency; (ii) to the telephone line of a guest room or patient room of a hospital, health care facility, retirement home or similar facility; or (iii) a telephone number assigned to a paging service, cellular telephone service, specialized cellular service, or other common radio service, or a service for which the called party is charged for the call. (2) Initiate or initiate a telephone call that contains or introduces an advertisement or initiates telemarketing using an automatic telephone dialing system or an artificial or recorded voice to any of the lines or telephone numbers described in paragraphs (a) (1) (i)) to ( iii) this Section, with the exception of a call made with the prior express written consent of the called party or the prior express consent of the called party if the call is made by or on behalf of a tax-exempt nonprofit organization; or a call conveying a “health notice” from or on behalf of an “insured company” or its “business associate” as those terms are defined in the HIPAA Privacy Policy, 45 CFR 160.103. (3) Initiate any telephone call to a resident.All lines use an artificial or recorded voice to deliver a message without the prior express written consent of the called party, unless the call is made for (i) emergencies, (ii) not for Commercial Use, (iii) Produced for commercial use, but does not contain advertising, advertise or display telemarketing. (Iv) Produced by or on behalf of a tax exempt nonprofit organization. or (v) delivers a “health notice” sent by or on behalf of an “insured company” or its “business partner” as those terms are defined in the HIPAA Privacy Policy, 45 CFR 160.103.

What do the rules of the TCPA mean?

Before I go any further, it must be mentioned here that I am not a lawyer. With that in mind, here are the top three things I think you should avoid when promoting your business over the phone (that is, you want to make unsolicited calls to “promote” or “telemarketing” – the words of the TCPA not mine).

Don’t call people unless you have their consent first

Read the full law to understand the exceptions to the TCPA that allow you to call people. With these exceptions, however, it is safest not to use an automated system or automated message to call people on the phone.

Do not use an auto-dialer or a recorded message

Don’t you wanna cause trouble Call people directly and individually rather than using an automatic dialer and / or a pre-recorded message to get in touch with as many people as possible as quickly as possible.

Do not call numbers on the national do not call register

Always check your list of phone numbers against the national no-call registration list and never call any numbers on that list unless you have consent to do so (or your call will be considered an exception under the rules of the TCPA) .

Final warning on telemarketing for cannabis and cannabis companies

With all the compliance issues cannabis and cannabis-related companies have to deal with, getting caught breaking the TCPA is a headache. Follow the rules to avoid trouble.

One final thing to consider – your suppliers need to follow the rules too. If you hire a company to manage and run your telemarketing for you that does not comply with the regulations, you are also considered guilty. A plea “but we didn’t know what they were doing” will not work. Choose vendors wisely and closely monitor their actions, as ignorance does not mean innocence.

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