The TCPA places requirements that govern business texting in the United States.
Text marketing has been a source of controversy. Businesses recognize the power of texting and weigh the positives against the risks. The risks can be significant if texting is done improperly. In fact, fines can reach $500 to $1500 per text message.
Texting Base built a number of compliance features to address regulatory and legal concerns and empower companies to operate within the bounds of the TCPA.
We cannot give legal advice, but here is some information on the TCPA, which we hope you find helpful along with some basic tips to stay within compliance.
- ONLY TEXT PEOPLE FROM YOUR OWN DATABASE. In other words, do not purchase lists of names and indiscriminately contact the people on that list without knowing who they are.
- Give the recipients an option to no longer receive these messages and OPT OUT.
- Remove people from that list who have selected to opt out from receiving future messages.
Using text messaging as a tool requires adherence to the FCC's rules. The FCC has explained that text messages are subject to restrictions just like prerecorded voice and auto dialed calls. The difference between a manual call/text message and an auto dialed message is crucial as auto dialed calls require the consent of the recipient under the TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act). Messages sent manually are generally not subject to the same requirements of written express consent as other text messages sent from autodialers. In an important decision earlier this year, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California held in Glauser v. GroupMe, Inc., No. C 11-2584 PJH, 2015 WL 475111 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 4, 2015) that a company that sent group text messages where the sender had to select the recipient list was not an auto dialer. This is significant because sending messages through and autodialer versus in non-autodialer entails different rules with the former being a lot more regulated. In the GroupMe decision, the court rested its decision on the fact that the application did not have the capacity to dial numbers without human intervention. Texting Base requires a person, the sender, to select the recipients of each message. The FCC's website provides a lot of guidelines on political calls. Manually sent text messages are permissible. However, in an abundance of caution, the FCC's rules regarding sending text messages should be considered in setting up texting campaigns for fundraising in a political setting.
Any texting platform you choose to use should at a minimum have an automatic “opt out” so you can stay in compliance.
Texting can be an amazing tool to help in ways they have never done before. As spam filters become more and more robust and email lists dwindle, companies will need new and improved ways to keep in touch. Implementing an effective campaign can make a huge difference in your bottom line. Best of luck!