That’s Illegal?

What are you going to do when cold calling or calling expired listings is illegal? Don’t think it can happen?

When I started in 2003 in Georgia, it was against the rules to post square feet in our listings. Yeah, you read that right. We could not post square feet anywhere in our listings. We could talk about bedroom count, lot size and most other things but if you posted square feet in the MLS you got a warning and if you didn’t take it out you got a fine.

It all started with a lawsuit made by a buyer against a broker. The buyer said he was told the house was 2800 sq ft and turned out to be 2750. I know, it’s silly but it was a lawsuit and the broker lost. There was a payout and a new rule that all the local brokers and the MLS enforced.

So right now there is a lawsuit where a seller is suing Coldwell Banker, NRT for agent cold calls to her on her expired listing. I don’t know the details of the case but I can see it because in our market the seller receives about 40 calls on the day a listing expires and they are bombarded with scripts and tactics over the next few days in an attempt to get a listing appointment and it’s all at the sacrifice of the sellers right to privacy, freedom of harassment and the ability to use their phone. I’ve had a seller call me and complain how the agents are calling her kids cell phones.

No wonder they sue and I expect that to happen more and more.

I’m sure you’ve all read and even experienced the dreaded RoboCall. Did you know the TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act) is a federal statute enacted in 1991 designed to safeguard consumer privacy. This legislation restricts telemarketing communications via voice calls, SMS texts, and fax.

It’s being used in other class action lawsuits and individual suits to collect damages from real estate agents among others who use software to dial the phone? An auto dialer call to someone who has not given you express permission to call them is a violation of the law. Same thing applies to text messages. You can’t use software to mass text folks without jumping through lots of regulation hoops. Why risk it? The TCPA allows victims of illegal calls to collect damages of a minimum of $500 per illegal call, text or fax.

Imagine if a few brokers who have to pay out a big settlement for their agents making calls to expired listings and using auto dialers to call FSBO or expired listings. Do you think it could cause them to stop their agents from calling? It is not any bigger stretch than forbidding the entry of a valid piece of information like square footage.

So, what do you do? You can wallow in the fear of the change that’s coming or you can figure out how to use what you already have in your possession.

You have a database of folks who know you, like you and trust you. You have cell phone numbers, email addresses and permission to call them. In fact, you have lots of folks who really would like to hear from you and you haven’t called them in ages.

I posted an article Database Optimization (DBO) a bit ago and if you missed it you might was to check it out. I’ll share more later so sign up below so you don’t miss it.

I’d love to hear your opinion on all this. If you think I’m wrong then call me out and you can do it in the comment space below. I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks for listening,
Jerry Robertson
678-616-1578 Direct

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