We recently received a message from a frustrated homeowner. At the end of November the listing on her home had expired. She told us that since then, she has received more than a dozen calls from real estate agents who want to know why her listing expired and what she plans to with her home. Part of her frustration, she told us, isn’t the number of calls, but the fact that her phone number is on the National Do Not Call list.
While this might be old news to many of you, we thought it might be time for a quick refresher on the “Do Not Call” rule. We know you work hard to build rapport with homeowners in San Francisco, and that you don’t want to jeopardize that by making unwanted calls.
Passed in 2003, the Do Not Call rule allows consumers to limit the telemarketing calls they receive by signing up for the National Do Not Call Registry. The Do Not Call Registry, managed by the Federal Trade Commission, is a list of phone numbers that have opted not to receive most telemarketing calls. The rules surrounding the registry are enforced by the FTC, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and state officials.
The do not call provisions cover “any plan, program or campaign to sell goods or services through interstate phone calls. This includes calls by telemarketers who solicit consumers, often on behalf of third party sellers. It also includes sellers who are paid to provide, offer to provide, or arrange to provide goods or services to consumers.” This last group is where real estate agents and brokers fall.
An exemption to the “Do Not Call” rule exists for agents and brokers have an established business relationship with a consumer. In this case, the agent or broker may call for up to 18 months after the consumer’s last purchase, delivery, or payment, provided the consumer doesn’t ask them to stop calling.
According to NAR, as of January 1, 2005, telemarketers and sellers (including REALTORS®) are required to search the registry at least once every 31 days and drop from their call lists the phone numbers of consumers who have registered.
The “Do Not Call” rule is not something to mess with -- a violation can result in a fine of up to $16,000. Before you make that next cold call, we recommend checking out the Federal Trade Commission’s website. The California Association of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors also have extensive resources for members on their websites if you search “Do Not Call”. To access the an up-to-date version of the Do Not Call list, click here.