This document provides an explanation and more information about compliance with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)
When do I need permission to text someone? How do I know I really have permission? Are they contacts or subscribers?
Did you know that you must legally obtain prior expressed consent to send to send a marketing or promotional text message to a mobile device?
CTIA’s Best Practices Guide for SMS Marketing and Communications, released on January 19, 2017, places an additional degree of emphasis on consent and TCPA compliance.
All of our customers have a legal obligation to ensure that you are following TCPA Compliance. You must ensure that your contact lists and messaging content is compliant with all applicable state and federal laws and regulations. This includes all requirements established and enforced by the CTIA that regulate SMS/text messaging.
What is TCPA Compliance?
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) went into effect in 1991, and it has since been modified to include SMS/text messaging.
The TCPA stipulates that businesses and/or organizations must receive expressed written consent from individuals prior to sending any autodialed SMS/text message to them.
By obtaining an individual’s phone number in anyway regardless of the being a potential lead, an existing client, a former customer, or a member of your group or organization – is not the same as receiving permission to contact them.
There are only a few exceptions to this under the TCPA. If you send out an appointment reminder and delivery notifications these may be subject to exemption. Penalties for TCPA violations are steep, so it is best to alway take caution and make sure that you have expressed written consent before sending any texts – even if you think yours are transactional. Check out this useful resource that is provides additional information about compliance guidelines that apply to specific industries and/or audiences The Data and Marketing Association’s Comprehensive Guide to Compliance.
Why Does This Matter?
The TCPA provides for a private right of action – that is a right to sue the sender – and statutory damages, and they are often pursued as a class action lawsuit. Damages start at $500 and go up to $1500 for each text message sent in violation. In addition to private citizen lawsuits the FTC and FCC both have the authority to bring actions for violations of the TCPA as do state attorneys general on behalf of citizens of their states. Learn more about TCPA Violations.
If you are unsure as to whether your contact list meets the established criteria for consent outlined by the TCPA and CTIA documents referenced (and linked) above, we advise you to consult with your organization’s compliance team and/or legal counsel.
How to Start Importing:
Before you import any contacts make sure you take a look at our SMS Compliance Guidelines.
Watch this video below on how to import TCPA complaint contacts.
*Do Not Forget To Save Proper Documentation for Your Records*