64 Replies

What's the deal with the do not call list? If I find a property that has the potential to be a good wholesale property, can I call up the owner and tell them my interest. I'm talking no FSBO sign, no for rent sign, just a property in my target area that needs some serious fixing. Am I violating any laws if I'm completely unaware as to whether or not they're on the do not call list?

I might get some arguments on this one, but I'd go ahead make some calls to see what happens. if you plan to make these types of calls and you have concerns about making some people mad, don't pose as some type of big company...If you pose as a guy looking for a house, wondering if that house they own is for sale, I just don't see that you'll run into any problems. Don't be a jerk! Be friendly. You'll be fine.

And do not forget that the do not call list is for solicitors who are selling something. The fact that you want to buy and are not selling puts you into another catagory from the do not call list!

Others may disagree, but look into the purpose of the do not call list. And the meanings of the words as described by the "preamble" of the law.

Yes you will be breaking the law. That’s why they made the do not call list. It doesn’t matter if your aware or not. But on the other hand you have to be reported so you would really have to make them mad to report you probably. I would just send them postcards that way you don't have to go through the trouble of finding their number

Brian Haskins

The do not call list is for telemarketers and anyone selling something. Not for someone wanting to buy something.

An excerpt from the FTC do no call Q&A sections follows:

Will All Telemarketing Calls Stop If I Register?
If I register my number on the National Do Not Call Registry, will it stop all telemarketing calls?
No. Placing your number on the National Do Not Call Registry will stop most telemarketing calls, but not all. Because of limitations in the jurisdiction of the FTC and FCC, calls from or on behalf of political organizations, charities, and telephone surveyors would still be permitted, as would calls from companies with which you have an existing business relationship, or those to whom you’ve provided express agreement in writing to receive their calls. However, if you ask a company with which you have an existing business relationship to place your number on its own do-not-call list, it must honor your request. You should keep a record of the date you make the request.

Are calls from political organizations or calls soliciting for charities covered?
Political solicitations are not covered by the TSR at all, since they are not included in its definition of “telemarketing.†Charities are not covered by the requirements of the national registry. However, if a third-party telemarketer is calling on behalf of a charity, a consumer may ask not to receive any more calls from, or on behalf of, that specific charity. If a third-party telemarketer calls again on behalf of that charity, the telemarketer may be subject to a fine of up to $16,000 .

What about telephone surveys?
If the call is really for the sole purpose of conducting a survey, it is not covered. Only telemarketing calls are covered — that is, calls that solicit sales of goods or services. Callers purporting to take a survey, but also offering to sell goods or services, must comply with the National Do Not Call Registry.

My number is on the National Do Not Call Registry. After I bought something from a company, a telemarketer representing that organization called me. Is this a violation?
No. By purchasing something from the company, you established a business relationship with the company. As a result, even if you put your number on the National Do Not Call Registry, that company may call you for up to 18 months after your last purchase or delivery from it, or your last payment to it, unless you ask the company not to call again. In that case, the company must honor your request not to call. If they subsequently call you again, they may be subject to a fine of up to $16,000 .

An established business relationship with a company also will be created if you make an inquiry to the company, or submit an application to it. This kind of established business relationship exists for three months after the inquiry or application. During this time, the company can call you.

If you make a specific request to that company not to call you, however, then the company may not call you, even if you have an established business relationship with that company. You should keep a record of the date you make the request

You can find the entire Q&A section here

@Sage Jankowitz ,

From what you have described, I'd be shocked if you met the definition of a telemarketer as defined in the enacting legislation.

If someone receives your call and complains, the FTC isn't likely to do anything about someone calling the owner of a property, one time, to see if they are interested in selling said property. They don't do anything until a pattern of illegal calls emerges, meaning, until lots of people complain about you.

The purpose behind the do not call list was to shut down the call mills using robo-dialers and calling multiple times a day or week. It is specifically written to stop those who are trying to sell something to the consumer.

Keep it non-selling, non-automated, be polite and cheerful and if someone says, "I am on the do not call list you moron, why are you calling me?" Just apologize profusely and assure them you will never call them again, remind them they have your number should they change their mind. ;)

Originally posted by @James Lee :
Does anyone know for sure if calling random people to buy their property is covered by the Do Not Call List law?

It would depend, for example, if you hired a service to contact every owner in a particular zip code, you might get the FTC and FCC sniffing around.

If you call, manually, on your own, you probably couldn't generate enough complaints for them to even investigate whether you met the 'telemarketer' definition.

First of all, yes, I am aware that I'm replying to a thread started in 2010 and in which the last activity was in 2013, but it's the topic of my question, so I thought I'd just revive it rather than start a new one. 

So, with that out of the way, here's my question. The discussion in this thread, and a few others on BP, is all about contacting potential sellers. But what about contacting potential buyers (this is especially for wholesaling)? That is, either calling them and asking if they would like to be on your buyers list, or even, once you have a property under contract, if they would have any interest in buying the property? This could be current landlords or anyone else you have reason to think has been a cash buyer in the past. I figure that here, you actually kind of ARE selling something, but letting them know of a property for sale isn't exactly like selling a phone plan.

At any rate, contacting potential buyers is a key part of this business, so it has to be done one way or another. I know most of you aren't lawyers, so I guess the way I will put it is this: in your experience, has this ever been a problem? Thanks!

@Jordan Solomon out of curiosity have you actually cross checked the numbers by the Do Not Call Registry first? I'm asking because I'm curious about your question as well, but it seems that you have to pay to get access to the Do Not Call registry in the first place. It seems like some form of extortion to me... you don't know if you can call a number but the only way to find out is to pay a price!? I can't hunt down a straight answer... I've had someone reach out to me with one number, but when I call back I never get a response, so I dug up two alternate numbers. I'm curious if I call the alternate numbers if that's a violation since I have three months to call that person back, but I'm not sure if the law applies to just one number or the person??

@Fausto Carosella Good question, but I have no idea what the answer is. I just assume that everyone is on the do not call list, even though I know that's not true. But assuming everyone is, again, the question becomes whether or not these calls are exempt. Remember, the list does NOT cover all kinds of calls. Political calls, for example, are not covered by the no-not-call list (as many of us will be reminded of over the next year!). But, obviously, we're not making political calls. I think that business-to-business calls get more leeway as well, and one could argue that when we're trying to market properties to potential buyers, we are, in fact, making business-to-business calls. 

However, I don't know if the law sees it that way. And that's the problem -- I don't know what the law says about this. Honestly, I'm a bit surprised there isn't more discussion about this topic on BiggerPockets, considering how much cold calling some of us do.

@Jordan Solomon check out this Q&A page for Tellemarketers and Sellers... This breaks it down a little bit better for interpretation... I THINK I finally got my answer! Hope it helps....

Business-to-Business Calls:
Most phone calls to a business made with the intent to solicit sales from that business are exempt from the Do Not Call provisions.

Here is an excerpt from the link @Fausto Carosella  provided which I interpret as excluding an offer to buy: "

3. What calls are covered?

The do not call provisions of the TSR cover any plan, program or campaign to sell goods or services through interstate phone calls. This includes calls by telemarketers who solicit consumers, often on behalf of third party sellers. It also includes sellers who provide, offer to provide, or arrange to provide goods or services to consumers in return for some type of payment as part of a telemarketing transaction.

Thanks, Frank!

"The do not call provisions of the TSR cover any plan, program or campaign to sell goods or services through interstate phone calls."

I know this post is 8 years old but I still cannot get a firm consensus on what the truth is. As a wholesaler you are calling to offer to buy something from the other person on the line. So although you aren't selling a good, your are still offering a service to that person. If I want to play it safe and run my numbers through a DNC scrubber, then its going to cost me around $125 to $140 a month. That isn't economical for a newbie just starting out, but I would do it if it was absolutely necessary in which I can't decide. I am in a pickle.

The Federal Communications Commission has made it clear that it's illegal to call homeowners for the purpose of offering real estate services, if the homeowner's number is listed on the National Do Not Call Registry. In February 2005, the FCC rejected a petition from the National Association of Realtors to exempt calls to FSBOs and expired listings. (Details here.) Do Not Call rules apply to all "sellers who are paid to provide, offer to provide, or arrange to provide goods or services to consumers." The only exception would be if you have an existing relationship with the person you are calling: if you've worked with them in the past 18 months, or they've contacted you in the last 3 months.

@Doug Pretorius What it does say in the DNC law is that the only exemptions are charities, political organizations, polls, and businesses with an established relationship with the person being called. Real estate investors clearly do not fall under any of those categories.

@Doug Pretorius I do agree that the way the law is written should be more explicit. It's written as if it might only apply to telemarketers who sit around cold calling all day. That's why the realtors thought they should be exempt, and the FCC had to clarify that the rules apply even when the caller is not directly selling anything. Likewise, calling to buy someone's property still has the ultimate goal of arranging to provide a service to consumers.

Hey @Doug Pretorius

What do you mean by house buying candidate?

I agree with what you were saying that as investors we are not selling anything nor are we providing a service. We are buying houses as an investment, I can't see how my buying a house from someone could be considered selling or providing a service.

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