Is business to business telemarketing exempt? Do the TCPA or state telemarketing rules apply to B2B telemarketing?
Many telemarketers make a living calling other businesses, rather than calling private residences or consumers. Surely, such normal business solicitations are exempt, right? Wrong. Business-to-business or "B2B" telemarketing is exempt from some, but not all of the telemarketing rules. For example, business to business telemarketing calls are subject to the same TCPA wireless calling restrictions as consumer (B2C) calls.
Many autodialer laws and cell phone telemarketing laws apply even B2B. Even when only calling business to business, you still need written consent to autodial or autotext any cell phone, including a business cell phone. This is true even if the business owner publishes their cell phone online - you still need consent. The fact that they may put their number online or in a business directory does not give you any written consent to autodial them.
While most B2B telemarketing calls are exempt from the National DNC list law, not every state exempts b2b telemarketing calls under local DNC laws. Per the FTC, when calling a business line, if you intend to sell or advertise non-durable office supplies or any products to the individual employees (individual insurance plans for example), then it is not treated as business to business telemarketing. Regardless, all B2B telemarketing should elect to scrub against the national and all state consumer DNC lists due to the risk related to dual purpose (mixed use) lines. There is no clear law on what a business line is, which means if you call a line thinking it's a business line, but it's also used for private purposes, you might be sued for violating DNC or other consumer protection laws. Scrub DNC to reduce the risk of accidentally calling consumer and mixed-use lines.
Business to business telemarketers are exempt from many but not all state telemarketing licenses and telemarketing bonds. In many jurisdictions, business to business telemarketers need to register and place a bond before calling to or from those states.
In many states, time of day ("curfew"), holiday, and oral phone disclosures still apply even to b2b telemarketing. Also, b2b telemarketing callers must honor opt outs and adhere to many other behavioral rules that B2C marketers must follow.
For more information about business to business telemarketing, contact a telemarketing attorney.
Watch this short video about Business-to Business-Telemarketing
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