When it was first enacted back in 1991, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act only needed to apply to telephones. The first text message was more than a year away from being sent and was not on anyone’s radar screen. In the nearly three decades since the TCPA was enacted, it has been modified and updated a number of times to refine and clarify the statute and to address new technologies, like text messaging.
The provisions of the TCPA that apply to text messages can be summarized into six main areas:
- Organizations must obtain the proper consent per message type prior to sending any communication
- Recipients have the right to revoke consent to be contacted at any time by any reasonable means
- Text message senders are liable for text messages inadvertently sent to wrong numbers or reassigned numbers
- Text message senders bear the burden of proving valid consent
- Organizations are required to retain records of communication for business made through text messaging
- Messages may only be sent between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. in whatever time zone the consumer happens to reside in
Whether through an API integration or directly utilizing the user interface, the Solutions by Text software will be your safeguard in ensuring adherence to all TCPA requirements when sending SMS campaigns.
SBT requires clients to use its Verify By Text feature to first obtain valid consent from a consumer. Verify By Text is a double opt-in process that documents compliance with the TCPA’s consent requirement and preserves that documentation for 10 years. The Verify By Text process offers stronger evidence of valid TCPA consent and gives SBT clients a simple and reliable way to document consumer consent.
All client consents completed through SBT’s process are client brand-specific. This means that clients cannot transfer consent associated with one brand to a second brand under which the client might also operate. Also, since consumers have the right to revoke consent to be contacted at any time by any reasonable means, SBT’s software is set up so that all a consumer has to do is reply “STOP” to opt out. When a “STOP” message is sent, SBT’s software automatically sends one final message to the consumer confirming receipt of the consent revocation — which is permitted by the Federal Communications Commission — and then blocks any future messages the brand inadvertently attempts to send. The only way SBT clients can override a consumer’s TCPA consent revocation is by repeating the VBT double opt-in process.
SBT also monitors cell phone deactivations from the carriers and via a nightly process will extract deactivated numbers and treat them like a “STOP” command to prevent any additional subsequent messages. Any messages sent to the consumer will only be between the hours of 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. Central Time, unless a message was initiated by the consumer by using a reserve word, such as “Help” or “Stop”.
Penalties for not complying with the TCPA can be severe — $500 per violation for unknowingly sending a message that violates the statute or $1,500 per violation for willfully doing so — and there are a growing number of individuals who are making careers out of filing lawsuits against companies for violating the law. Using SBT’s Verify By Text feature adds an important layer of compliance onto your policies and procedures, reducing the risk of being sued for accidentally sending a text message to the wrong individual.
“Disclaimer: Solutions by Text is a technology company and provides this blog article solely for general information and marketing purposes. We are not attorneys; however, we collaborate with highly acclaimed law firms such as Hudson Cook and Ballard Spahr to develop the content. You should not solely rely on the content of this material for any other purpose or as specific guidance for your company. Solutions by Texts’ opinions, services, tools and products described herein do not guarantee compliance with any law or industry standard. You are ultimately responsible for your own company’s actions and compliance efforts. Because everyone’s situation is different, you must consult your own attorneys, accountants, and/or other advisors to obtain specific advice on your company’s compliance, legal, tax, regulatory and/or other business needs. Despite Solution by Texts’ efforts to provide current and up-to-date information, you need to recognize that the information contained herein may become outdated quickly and may contain errors and/or other inaccuracies”