The Changing Face of Cold Calls: Auto-Dialing To Be Banned in 2025 by FCC

Auto-Dialing To Be Banned in 2025 by FCC
Photo Courtesy: Solar Exclusive

By: Mariah Williams

You know the particular type of heart-sink that accompanies a cold call? You may have zero interest in life insurance or pension plans but a stranger is asking you about it anyway. These cold calls can feel endless but an end is now in sight, with The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) passing a new law to ban auto-dialing homeowner data or aged leads.

Auto-dialing is the practice of buying a bundle of data (usually homeowners information) and inputting that data in the dialer. Call centers can then bother thousands of people who may have consented years ago to one company, not knowing their information would be sold-on multiple times. From 2025, this will now be illegal, calling for a step change in how companies generate leads for their business. 

Expert in lead generation, Rich Feola founded the largest independent marketing agency in the residential solar industry back in 2017. Solar Exclusive is ethically run by a founder of Christian faith that donates 20% of all profits to humanitarian aid and building churches in areas of need. 

For Feola, there are three crucial criteria for a successful lead:


Generating an exclusive lead online means the prospect recently displayed interest by filling out a form. They have specifically requested to receive contact in the near future. Feola says, “This is our specialty. Less ethical lead providers will offer leads that filled out the form six months ago, but that is just harassing people.”

Solar Exclusive prides itself on producing leads that are a unique opportunity for their client. “Other lead providers share leads with multiple competitors but we provide exclusive leads for each of our clients. When leads are shared, their quality is diluted because others may reach them before you,” says Feola. 

“Exclusivity also means that solar companies can charge a good price that makes sense for them, because customers don’t shop around with competitors. There are plenty of shady solar companies offering discount prices but lacking in quality or integrity. Exclusive leads mean that reputable solar companies can secure a healthy price to stay profitable.”

High quality

Not all leads are created equal. There is a huge disparity between low and high quality leads. “Wasting time with low quality leads can endanger your business,” says Feola. “A homeowner with purchase intent is a high quality lead. We target Google and YouTube with ads because that is where you find people who are really interested, as opposed to Facebook.”

“We work with ‘pull marketing’ tactics, engaging people who have already expressed interest, rather than ‘push marketing’ which is attempting to push people to fill out a form they’re not really engaged with.” Solar is a growing industry which is not yet at mass adoption, but is moving towards it. Competitiveness on price is only going to increase, so high quality leads are key to stay ahead in the market.


Even before the FCC targeted auto-dialing, Solar Exclusive has been ethical in the way they generate leads. “One-to-one consent is key,” says Feola. “We get exclusive consent from every single lead that opts in to get a solar quote.” They will have no need to change their practices when the law comes in, but others will have to assess their tactics.

“The FCC calls it ‘closing the lead generation loophole’ which means that filling out one form will not entitle other companies to buy your data and contact you. You can get added to a million lists and never get off them. This is what’s changing and it doesn’t leave many options for solar leads other than what we have always done: exclusive one-to-one consent.”

Feola notices that the solar industry is moving in the right direction where they want to do the right thing by customers, to avoid heavy regulation in future. “Sadly the solar industry attracts shady sales people doing fraudulent things and ripping off customers. If we can eradicate these problems then the government won’t need to come down hard on the industry as a whole,” Feola says.

“Some solar marketers lie outright and say the government will pay for your solar system, which is absolutely not true. Tax credits for up to 30% are available but that is a very different thing. We are partnering with The Residential Solar Association to try and fix these ethical issues. We also make sure we’re compliant with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by ensuring our claims are true for at least 70% of our consumers.”

Solar Exclusive only partners with solar providers that answer a detailed questionnaire with FTC-related questions, so they are not sending leads to unethical companies. “The lead generation company is also liable if the solar provider mistreats customers, so we have a strict paperwork trail and pre-qualification process,” Feola concludes.

To find out more about Solar Exclusive and the exclusive leads they can generate for your solar business, check out their website.

Published by: Martin De Juan


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