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Hang ups and Do Not Call lists: When Must a Consumer be Removed?

Question: 
Many times when I get a call I start to say “remove this number from your call list” but the caller hangs up before I’m done. Is this illegal since they didn’t provide time to get this request? If so, we should train our calling staff to listen for this and proceed as you mentioned, to remove the number, correct?
Answer: 

A consumer can revoke his or her consent to be called or texted at any time, and through any reasonable means. Any consumer receiving communications must give prior consent; and, anyone who has given prior consent must also be given reasonable means to revoke.
But, a caller can make it difficult for a consumer to actually revoke his/her consent!
Is this illegal since they didn’t provide time to get this request?
On it's face, it's not explicitly illegal to hang up on a caller before s/he can revoke his/her consent to be called; however, courts would certainly not be inclined to side with a caller if a consumer could prove that the caller willfully and knowingly attempted to usurp the consumer's right to revoke his/her consent. This could be difficult to prove in practice, but plaintiffs' lawyers have yet to confront a challenge they couldn't creatively overcome.
If so, we should train our calling staff to listen for this and proceed as you mentioned, to remove the number, correct?
Regardless of the fact that it's not per se illegal to hang up before consent can be revoked, it is unwise to adopt any practice that limits, obstructs, or otherwise bars the consumer's right to revoke consent at any time.
Thus, you most certainly should include a provision in your TCPA policy that requires your staff to listen for consumers reactions, and if a caller is hanging up, but hears something along the lines of, "Remove my ---", the caller should take that as evidence that a consumer know longer wishes to be called and the number should be added to your company's do not call list.
Further, you should definitely train your callers to adhere to this practice, and ensure they document all instances where they think a consumer attempted to revoke his/her consent, and then the steps the caller took to ensure the consumer was added to the do not call list. In training, you should include various scenarios to help your callers understand this concept – and then (!) include documentation that all callers have received training on a range of reasonable ways that consumers can opt out of receiving calls.
During this webinar, we will discuss more "best practices" for your bank to implement in order to combat TCPA litigation.
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Learn more about Carly Souther’s webinar TCPA in 2020: Risks, Rules, & Regulation

First published on 02/23/2020

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