Understanding Complex Regulatory Expectations

By Alexandra Warner, Platform28 on February 25, 2014

This blog is an introduction to our upcoming white paper, “Meeting the Demands of Government Requirements.”

What does whocallsme.com, unknownphone.com, www.whocalled.us, and 
www.800notes.com all have in common? They are Web services that enable consumers to research telemarketers that call their home. If a consumer is angry about such calls, they can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

Why is this important? The “Do Not Call List” is a major consumer advocacy program, and just one example of the many regulatory and compliancy concerns that we, as contact center professionals, must pay attention to.

Contact centers handle a variety of customer service functions that not only include outbound and inbound calls, but also the solicitation of new business. Contact centers must be careful when approaching their targets, as many rules and regulations exist that could place them in serious trouble if they do not abide by those rules and regulations. Trouble comes in the form of litigation, monetary fines, and damage to a company’s revenue stream and reputation.

The Main Culprits

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act, U.S. Department of Labor hourly worker requirements, and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) are a few of the key regulations to keep in mind. Also don’t forget:

1. PCI-DSS (Payment Card Industry – Data Security Standard) – a robust payment card data security process that is intended to prevent, detect and address incidents.

2. Telemarketing Sales Rule – “Do Not Call” provisions.

  • Requires disclosures of specific information
  • Prohibits misrepresentations
  • Limits when telemarketers may call consumers
  • Requires transmission of caller ID information
  • Prohibits abandoned outbound calls, subject to a safe harbor
  • Prohibits unauthorized billing
  • Sets payment restrictions for the sale of certain goods and services
  • Requires that specific business records be kept for two years

3. Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) – a well-known law that dictates how records can be stored and for how long (i.e., contact center technologies such as call recording, screen capture and speech analytics must be designed to facilitate SOX audit and regulatory compliance).

4. Gramm-Leach Bliley Financial Services Modernization Act (GLBA) – privacy, safeguards and pretexting provisions in controlling how financial institutions manage individual’s private information.

5. Truth in Lending Act (TILA) – law intended to regulate consumer credit transactions and disclosures.

6. Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) Acts – regulations that prohibit abusive practices by debt collectors (including calls at “inconvenient” times).

Along with government regulations, of course we must also be mindful of customer contractual obligations and stringent service level agreements (SLAs).

How Does One Keep Up?

There are multiple resources available that your company must check regularly to keep up with amendments and new laws. The Library of Congress website, http://thomas.loc.gov/, allows you to search all laws and find details on any of the related regulations. We like SecurityFocus (http://www.securityfocus.com) as it maintains information on all security-related topics, including government regulations.

SearchSecurity.com (http://www.searchsecurity.com) is a great source of information for all areas of information security and includes newsletters with specifics on different regulations.

While government regulations certainly aren’t a walk in the park, abiding by them is part of daily life in the contact center. It is your responsibility to adhere to these regulations in order to keep business running smoothly, and to ensure trouble does not come knocking at your door.

Coming up: In our upcoming white paper, we’ll discuss how screening and training, technology, scripting, call recording and monitoring, and maintaining recordkeeping standards can enable your organization to swiftly address any alleged breech or act of non-compliance.

Follow us on social media for up to date product information and industry news.

About the Author: Alexandra Warner is the VP of Marketing at Platform28, a robust Communications-as-a-Service provider for the enterprise. Since 2001, Platform28 has been helping government agencies, enterprise and US Tier 1 carriers streamline their communications, drive business efficiency, and deliver an excellent customer experience.