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The following are general compliance tips for companies that want to engage in avatar telemarketing:

  • Never autodial any cell phone for marketing purposes without prior express written consent, or for non-marketing, at least “express” consent.  Most avatar-software dialing platforms are autodialers under the TCPA because they have the capacity to initiate calls without call-by-call human intervention.  This means most avatar users need to scrub/suppress cell phone numbers, unless they have prior written consent;
  • The FTC’s new avatar/soundboard policy retracted their more favorable 2009 position and now treats avatar calls essentially the same as all other prerecorded robocalls—this does not mean the technology is illegal, but merely that there are additional behavioral rules on its use.  The Soundboard Association sued the FTC to block the new FTC letter from taking effect, but the Court recently denied the relief sought;
  • Like more traditional robocalls, Avatar calls make use of prerecorded messages. That a live agent plays such Avatar messages is no longer important to the FTC.
  • Like other telemarketing (and telefunding) robocalls, Avatar marketing calls now require prior written consent, whether to landlines or wireless phones;
  • Telemarketing for charities and nonprofits is generally exempt from the TSR, but calls by private telefunding contractors are not.  Also, non-profit calls are still subject to the TCPA’s “express consent” cell phone restriction;
  • Remember to follow all DNC list laws, both state and federal
  • Having prior express written consent allows you both to use Avatar/prerecorded messages, as well as to solicit people on the DNC list; Proof of any such consent should be stored for at least 5 years beyond the end of the campaign;
  • Consider performing “litigator” and reassigned number scrubbing in order to mitigate remaining risks. 
  • Honor all opt outs received.  
  • Consider having a telemarketing attorney perform a telemarketing compliance audit of your avatar telemarketing campaign. 
Avatar Telemarketing Law

Avatar Telemarketing Law