Ahh, peace and quiet. Recall if you dare, the days prior to October 1, 2003. No dinner was complete without a huge helping of telemarketing! Worse, when they called there was just no graceful way to get them off the phone. Didn’t they get it?! They were invading our space. Many of us finally resorted to either screening our calls (and to think the answering machine was first used to be sure we didn’t miss calls) or to a caller ID. In other words, we finally reached the point that we were willing to pay to ensure we weren’t bothered.
The Call Law
You may be surprised to learn that it took 10 years for the FCC and the FTC to formulate legislation that would help us recapture our sanctuary. The “Do Not Call” list developed as a result of the Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act of 1994. Guess what, it applies to REALTORS® just like everyone else.
Here’s what I know. Both agencies have a version of the law. The FTC regulates Intrastate only while the FCC has jurisdiction over all phone solicitations, so the FCC rules apply most often. Hawai`i doesn’t have a separate set of rules. There are basically two situations when REALTORS® (and telemarketers) might still call.
- An established business relationship allows us to call for 18 months. So, if I sold your home it’s OK for me to follow-up with you by phone over the next 18 months.
- With express written permission we are allowed to call. Permission might come in the form of a mail-in request for information or a registration on our website. Either would likely be considered written permission. Written permission is good for three months. The protections apply only to registered residential and mobile phones. It does not apply to business phones, door-to-door solicitations or e-mail.
Remember, REALTORS® are not supposed to solicit an already listed property. It’s a violation of our Code of Ethics. Do Not Call numbers must be re-registered every five years (www.donotcall.gov or at 1-888-382-1222). But one word of caution: Don’t disable that caller ID just yet. November is just around the corner and guess what, politicians (and apparently poll takers) are definitely still allowed to call!