Article by: CallEmAll
Mass texting is an innovative and affordable way for businesses and organizations to maintain the flow of communication between themselves and the consumer while keeping their enthusiasm. We use our smartphones to do everything from checking news updates to watching cat videos on the internet. Businesses making use of this medium through mass texting is a natural progression of communication. But, businesses and organizations may wonder: is mass texting illegal in any way?
By definition, mass texting isn’t illegal. But, it is heavily restricted by the government. One of the first legislative instances to regulate telecommunications was the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) of 1991, which amended the original Communications Act of 1934.
Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991
Unless consumers gave consent beforehand, these are some of the telecommunications restrictions that the TCPA put into law for companies that wanted to incorporate mass calling or mass texting:
- Unsolicited faxes for the purposes of marketing are prohibited
- Companies must provide a callback number of a reply option
- Calls before 8:00 A.M. and after 9:00 P.M. are prohibited
- Businesses conducting mass texts or calls must identify themselves or who they are calling for
- All companies or businesses that are marketing through mass texts or calls must maintain a “do not call” list and honor their requests for at least five years
When it came to this 1991 legislation, there was one huge problem. The term “prior consent” could be interpreted rather loosely. Even if consent was implied rather than explicit, telemarketers were given the green light to make calls or texts to customers.
2013 Amendment to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act
The TCPA was further amended in October 2013 and added specific instructions for SMS marketing and a need for written consent from customers. The latter was added so that there would be no confusion as to whether the consumer provided consent or not.
For businesses, it may seem like this amendment was an even tighter restriction. But, that’s not the case. The last thing that a business would want to do is annoy their customers. With written consent needed, that ensures that the customers that are being contacted actually want to be. That makes for lower complaints and a more streamlined flow of communication. Be mindful of the amendment’s rules when engaging in mass texting. Use these following tips in order to keep your customers happy and make their satisfaction go through the roof:
- Always give your customers an option to “opt-out”
- All SMS messaging content must be relevant to your business; no advertising partner businesses
- Consent must be written; oral consent is not enough
- Maintain and update your “do not call” list
- Tell your customers how often you’ll be contacting them before you gain their consent
As you develop your mass texting campaign, invite a reputable company to help you work through the fine print. Litigation for violations can be quite costly. Plaintiffs can claim up to $1,500 per text or call. That number can add up quickly depending on how often you contact your customers. Make sure you use every chance you can to protect your business before developing a mass texting marketing campaign.
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