Navigating the ever-evolving landscape of contact compliance can be daunting. Consumers have control of how companies may contact them and are using online registries like national, and state Do Not Call lists, internal opt-out mechanisms, and more, to dictate their preferred communication channels. For businesses, these restrictions can feel like roadblocks, hindering outreach to valuable segments of their database. But exemptions exist, providing a legitimate pathway to engagement even for those seemingly unreachable customers. 

There are a few exemptions to the rules of contacting consumers, one of them being an established business relationship (EBR). In this article we’ll outline what an established business relationship is and how it relates to contact compliance. 

What is an established business relationship? 

An established business relationship is a prior or existing relationship created by voluntary interactions like recent purchases, marketing inquiries or an on-going service relationship.   

The types of established business relationships 

There are two types of established business relationships: a transaction EBR and an inquiry EBR. A transaction EBR occurs when a company establishes a business relationship with a consumer based on the consumer’s last date of purchase, delivery or payment, and may call them for up to 18 months after that last transaction. An inquiry EBR happens when a consumer makes an inquiry about an organization’s goods or services, the company then is permitted to contact the consumer for up to 3 months from the date of inquiry or application.  

Even with an established business relationship exemption, there are still rules to keep in mind when contacting consumers. None of these exemptions are applicable if the consumer opts out at any time and ends up on your internal DNC list. If a consumer is on your internal DNC list, that trumps all applicable EBR exemptions. If you contact a consumer on your internal DNC list, it may cost you up to $50,120. 

Established business relationships and how they relate to compliance 

When it comes to compliance, there are certain contact exemptions for established businesses relationships. If a business can prove that they have an active, valid established business relationship with a consumer at the time of the call, and they are not registered on your internal DNC list, then you are permitted to make calls to that consumer even if they are on the National DNC Registry or an applicable State DNC list.  

As outlined above, there are two types of established business relationships, both with their own timelines and rules. However, some states have different time frames for inquiry EBRs and transaction EBRs. States like California and Colorado only allow outreach communication in the case of inquiry EBRs for 1 month, as opposed to the standard 3 months. Other states require more than a general inquiry to qualify a relationship as an EBR; they require an application for a product or service or express written consent.  

In the case of transaction leads that normally allow for follow-up for up to 18 months after the transaction, some states only allow outreach up to 6 to 12 months. Other states such as Indiana, New Jersey and Wisconsin do not allow outreach at all based on a transaction EBR. 

It’s important to note that calls made from an automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS), otherwise known as an autodialer or robocall, are not eligible to be exempt under an Established Business Relationship. So, if your company is performing outreach using an ATDS, you must continue to follow consent rules and regulations under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The TCPA requires express written consent to contact someone, meaning that EBRs do not override any blocks from the TCPA in this scenario. 

How to manage your established business relationships 

If the different nuances between inquiry and transaction EBRs sound difficult to manage, it’s because they are. Between internal, state, and federal DNC lists, inquiry dates and last dates of purchase or payment, there is a lot of information to keep track of when it comes to managing an Established Businesses Relationship.  

Gryph for Compliance delivers a robust, automated solution to help enterprise businesses eliminate DNC and TCPA risk across the entire organization. We offer the only real-time, automated solution that mitigates risk of DNC and TCPA violations for all outbound communications. By keeping track of all necessary established business relationship info for you—like internal DNC lists, last date of purchase, inquiry dates and other pertinent information—rest assured that your organization is remaining compliant during every conversation. 

Are you ready to get started on your compliance journey? Get started by contacting Gryphon today. 

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