On October 16th 2013, the FCC made some requirement changes to text marketing programs. Since text messaging first became available as a viable option for marketing there have been certain rules and regulations in place. However, because of a number of lawsuits, people who have abused the rules, and a number of SPAM complaints, the FCC has decided to tighten the rules regulating the use of text message marketing.
CONFIRMATION TEXT – One of the biggest changes that will be seen within the text marketing industry is the use of a confirmation text. Previously as long as customers received a message notifying them they had agreed to receive messages (at opt-in), as well as some other legal verbiage, it was okay to start sending them marketing texts. It will now be required for customers to reply ‘Yes’ to the notification text prior to being added to your database, unless they opt-in directly by texting your keyword to the shortcode.
ADD CONTACT – In the past there have been no time constraints on when contacts may be added to the database, under the new requirements there is a 48 hour rule. This rule allows contacts to be added to a database ONLY within 48 hours from the time of written consent. When adding a contact manually the customer will still receive a notification of opt-in, and be required to reply ‘Yes’ prior to being confirmed within the database.
IMPORTING – Restrictions on the importing of phone numbers is going to be extremely tight. Because of the 48 hour rule and confirmation text, the importing of numbers within TXT180 accounts will only be allowed if the database has recently been used with another text marketing provider and is just being moved over to the TXT180 short code. Customers may be asked to provide documentation of previous provider information.
PERMISSION – Some customers have been confused in the past about getting explicit permission to use a number for text marketing purposes. Just because a customer makes a purchase from a business does NOT give the business permission to use that number for text purposes. A business may not require a customer to share their phone number for text marketing purposes in order to make a purchase. The VERY BEST way to obtain a customer’s permission, and cover all legal requirements, is to have the customer text the keyword to the short code. When a customer opts-in from their cell phone they will still get the default text with disclosures and be added to the database.
PRINT ADVERTISING – While print advertising regulations have not changed much, everyone should be familiar with and follow all rules and regulations required in print advertising of your text marketing campaigns. Here are a couple links to refer to:
Any customer not adhering to all FCC text marketing rules and regulations, in all aspects of their marketing campaigns, are subjecting themselves to removal from the TXT180 system and lawsuits. Not long ago, Papa Johns pizza settled a class action lawsuit where they could have been fined $500 per unsolicited text message. Details of that lawsuit can be found here: http://blogs.lawyers.com/2013/06/papa-johns-settles-text-spam-suit/
Any questions? Please call TXT180 at 1-877-989-8180 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org