Stay in Compliance: Understanding The Do Not Call Registry…

Services for Real Estate Pros with Arch Telecom


There is a lot of misinformation regarding the Do Not Call (DNC) rules and how they apply to real estate agents.  This isn’t surprising considering there are two federal agencies, The Federate Trade Commission (FTC) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that regulate telemarketing compliance; certainly guidelines from two federal agencies can be confusing.

Real estate agents are subject to both the FTC and the FCC regulations and must comply with all of the DNC rules. 


The following post is based upon Arch’s understanding of the rules as they exist today and with respect to how agents can remain compliant when calling call-captured leads, for sale by owner and expired listings. 

DISCLAIMER:  As legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for advice of competent counsel.  Further, the content is only general information, which may or may not be correct, complete or current at the time of reading.  Arch Telecom expressly disclaims all liability relating to actions taken or not taken based on any or all contents of this article.

Question: Can sales calls be made to consumers on the DNC list?

Answer:  Yes, when there is an exception.  The rules:

  • When there is an "established business relationship" exception to the National DNC provisions so that an agent may call a consumer with whom it has such a relationship, even if the consumer’s number is on the Registry.
  • When a consumer has given the agent express written permission to call, even if the consumer’s number is on the Registry.

Question:  What constitutes an “established business relationship”:

Answer: A relationship between an agent and a consumer based on:

  • The consumer’s inquiry or call regarding a product or service offered by the agent, within the three (3) months immediately preceding the date of a sales call; or
  • The consumer’s purchase, rental, or lease of the agent’s goods or services or a financial transaction between the consumer and seller, within the eighteen (18) months immediately preceding the date of a sales call.

Question:  If a third-party pays for an agents services, can the third party make telemarketing calls relying on the business relationship exemption? 

Answer:  A third-party may make telemarketing calls on behalf of the primary business, about the products and services the customer inquired about.  However, they may not make telemarketing to consumers on the DNC list regarding unrelated products and services.

Question: Is it permissible to call back leads generated by call capture?

Answer:  Yes it is legal and acceptable business behavior subject to certain restrictions.  Call capture is intended to generate business relationships with prospects by providing a service to allow potential customers to request information 24 hours a day and also documents the inquiry.  This establishes the “business relationship” and therefore can safely be called back even when on the DNC.  The spirit and language of the regulation make it clear that the call is allowable AS LONG AS the resulting sales call is in regards to the services the consumer inquired about.

Question:  Can an agent make calls to for sale by owners on the DNC registry?

Answer: Only when the agent is calling to discuss the potential sale to their represented buyer.  In a February ruling, the FCC, despite significant lobbying by the NAR, denied the petition to make Realtors® exempt from the DNC rules with respect to for sale by owners. 

Question:  Can an agent make calls to for expired listings on the DNC registry?

Answer: In the same February ruling, the DNC rules only allow the agent to call his own expired listings for up to 18 months following expiration if the seller is listed on the DNC.


Question:  Are there other compliance issues to be aware of?

Answer:  Yes.  Beyond DNC issues, any sales calls are limited to between 8am and 9PM, and the seller must promptly identify themselves and the nature of the call.  For more information, visit the FTC site at:

In summary, any business selling to consumers must remain aware and compliant with the spirit and specific regulations of the National DNC list as well as the Telemarketing Sales Rule and state-specific regulations.  Call Capture, by helping to generate customer inquiries and business relationships, can effectively increase an agent’s ability to appropriately market their products and services.  Additionally Arch will provide fsbo and expired lists (in some areas) and scrub all lists, expired, fsbo or sphere of influence against the DNC.  For information please visit



Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Patty Mortara REALTOR CRS | Hunterdon County (NJ) 02/20/2010 02:16 AM
  2. Michele Rose 02/20/2010 03:36 AM
Real Estate Sales and Marketing
call capture
do not call compliance

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Sedruola Maruska
Exit First Choice Professional Realty - Worcester, MA

This is really great information to have, and very easy to read and understand. Thank you for using the Q & A format. This information is going to come in handy for me while I pursue some of my efforts.

Feb 20, 2010 12:48 AM #2
Todd MacMillan
MacMillan Real Estate - Georgetown, KY

It is almost to the point where we just don't call anyone anymore (until we have yet another document signed).

Feb 20, 2010 01:11 AM #3
Terry McCarley
REMAX Realty Team - Cape Coral FL - Cape Coral, FL

I would like to add that even if you have an existing relationship which allows you to call you must stop calling if they ask you to do so.  I had someone calling me every week under the existing relationship rule and they continued even after I told them to remove me from their call list.  When they continued to call I pointed out this often overlooked rule and the calls finally stopped.

Feb 20, 2010 01:51 AM #4
Patty Mortara REALTOR CRS | Hunterdon County (NJ)
Hunterdon County Homes - Flemington, NJ

Thanks for the post, I know this is a gray area for most agents.

Feb 20, 2010 02:01 AM #5
Michael J. O'Connor
Diamond Ridge Realty - Corona, CA
Eastvale - 951-847-4883

I think that many agents don't understand how the registry applies to expired listings.  There are usually a TON of calls to expired during the week after a listing expires if the agent is able to find a phone number on it.  I doubt that many of these agents are doing due diligence on cross-referencing to the DNC list prior to just picking up the phone.

Thanks for a great article!

Feb 20, 2010 02:12 AM #6
Bob Sweazy
Prudential A. S. de Movellan Real Estate - Lexington, KY

Thank you for this post. I send a personal note to expired listing sellers, but when I get the opportunity to speak with them I find that they have me bombarded with calls from agents. Maybe this will level the playing field.

Feb 20, 2010 02:32 AM #7
DeeDee Riley
Lyon Real Estate - El Dorado Hills CA - El Dorado Hills, CA
Realtor - El Dorado Hills & the Surrounding Areas

Thanks for the refresher!

Feb 20, 2010 05:09 AM #8
Kathy Opatka
Serving Ocean City, MD, & The Delaware Beaches

Very good concise information!  I have bunch of potential (hhhmmmm??) clients ,who have changed their email addresses...... I guess I need to get out the ol' pen & paper!

Feb 20, 2010 05:31 AM #9
Tony Hager
United Realty Texas - Denton, TX

Thanks again for the info, it is frustrating to know that there are some agents that just pick up the phone and call the expired's and fsbo's without checking.  I guess they will get a wake up call one of these days with that huge fine!

Feb 20, 2010 05:57 AM #10
Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605 - White Plains, NY

I don't understand the obession with cold calling.  The public has made it clear that it does not LIKE phone solicitation.  The answer is then - don't do it.

Feb 20, 2010 06:05 AM #11
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

Good article and clarification of the information.  I guess we are not to call old contacts who get e-mails from us on a regular basis or do we have a business relationship based on the regular provision of information?

Feb 20, 2010 07:18 AM #12
Mitch Muller - Charlotte NC Real Estate
ProStead Realty Charlotte, NC CRS CDPE - Charlotte, NC
Certified Residential Specialist

Some REALLY good information! Great post!

Feb 20, 2010 09:30 AM #13
Pam Turner, REALTOR®, e-PRO®, SFR
Century 21 Belk Realtors Dalton GA - Dalton, GA

I agree with Ruthmarie (#11) - the public hates it - I hate it too. And I hate unsolicited e-mails as well. I don't call FSBOs unless I truly have a client interested in the property - but I think I'm the only agent in my area who adheres to the Do Not Call ruling - most feel that no one will ever push the issue.

Feb 20, 2010 10:44 AM #14
Debbie Moran
Exit More Real Estate - Henderson Harbor, NY

Great post. We subscribed through but with the crazy password requirements it is hard to keep it current, Does anyone have an inexpensive effective solution to DNC compliance? I'd love to know,

Feb 20, 2010 11:51 AM #15
Todd MacMillan
MacMillan Real Estate - Georgetown, KY

The DNC web site is very confusing and the password changes are rediculous plus it seems to be "down-for-maintenance" a lot! It is like "they" don't want you to keep up with it. Of course, if someone files against anyone, who gets the money? The DNC. Crazy! I just don't call anyone without some other contact first.

Feb 20, 2010 09:29 PM #16
Donna Patton
Real Estate III - Troy, VA

Thanks for posting this, I teach this in my legal updates class and so many people still don't know the laws.

Feb 20, 2010 10:34 PM #17
Elva Branson-Lee
Solid Source Realty GA - Atlanta, GA
CDPE - Atlanta Real Estate & Short Sale Agent

Thank you. So many brokers still hammer on their agents to dial for dollars. It's good to know the rules. I didn't know the one about FSBOs. It will change the way I make "Power Hour" calls from now on.

Feb 21, 2010 06:05 AM #18
Arch Telecom
Arch Telecom - Austin, TX

Thanks everyone for your comments. This is can be a tricky subject, but typically the compliance laws are pretty clear.


We know a lot of people still consistently prospect FSBOs and Expireds with great success, but it is important to know whether or not the person is on the DNC and understand the contact rules.


Kathy, I think that in today's world of canned responses and spam a personalized letter can go further than you could ever imagine.


Debbie, we offer several inexpensive and effective methods to ensure you are in compliance while prospecting. Please check our website at or contact us at 800-882-9155.


Gene, in terms of the DNC and contacting older prospects there are definitely time constraints based on the EBR rules.


Terry, very true and great point.


Pam, yes you certainly can contact sellers if you have an interested property.


Elva, good luck with your prospecting!

Feb 22, 2010 01:16 AM #19
Matt Robinson
Professional Investors Guild - Pensacola, FL

Does anybody in this business actually cold call anymore?  If you do, you probably should be fined for just being out of touch with today's technology.

Feb 28, 2010 12:50 PM #20
Phil Leng
Retired - Kirkland, WA
Phil Leng - Retired

Hi Arch,

These laws are good. Very good in fact.

Our meal time calls have virtually dissappeared. It was horrible at one point.

As agents we can still make a great living and work in full compliance with these laws


Jan 13, 2012 01:00 AM #21
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