business messaging blog
TCPA | 10 Keys You Need to Know for Mobile Marketing
Claudia Perez

TCPA is the key law that governs text message campaigns.

Mobile marketing campaigns can be the most cost-effective campaigns you run. Part of the reason why they’re so effective is they’re personal and relevant. People check their phone messages – they’re not overloaded with spam like most of our email inboxes.

What keeps it that way are laws. And what keeps mobile marketers safely on the right side of those laws are best practices. To do mobile messaging right, you need to know the basics of both. Find the law summary below and a short guide to best practices here.

Laws: What is the TCPA?

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) is the key law. TCPA is a landmark 1991 federal law enforced by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). TCPA updated the Communications Act of 1934 to regulate telemarketing, texts, and emails. It allows for fines of up to $1500 per violation – that’s each message, so it can add up quick.

Texting came under TCPA in 2012. New regulations went into effect in 2013. Amendments to the original 1995 Telemarketing Sales Rule came into effect in 2003, 2008, 2010 and 2015.

TCPA: 10 Keys:

1. 2013 regulations adapted the law to the rapidly growing mobile texting market. It dramatically increases consumer protection by requiring that telemarketers, with certain exceptions, obtain a consumer’s consent in writing before making a call or sending a text.

2. Marketers, after they have obtained permission and made a record, must include an easy opt-out like “STOP” or “UNSUBSCRIBE.”

3. Exceptions include “calls made on or behalf of a tax-exempt nonprofit.” The IRS determines who is tax-exempt, not anyone else. Legal precedents since indicate that if a nonprofit hires a commercial fundraiser, they must be able to show that the commercial fundraiser is acting as the nonprofit’s agent. The nonprofit must be aware of the fundraiser’s actions and be able to review, modify, and veto actions as they see fit.

4. Other exemptions include human texts (P2P: from one person to another), package delivery texts, health-related texts like from a pharmacy about a prescription, and messages from government agencies, utilities, and schools.

5. While the political campaigns are not specifically exempted, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has granted them the idea that they’re considered informational messages, resulting in a de facto exemption. Given the exponential increase in political texts, this could change by 2022.

6. Debt collectors are only exempted if the US government is the holder or guarantor of that debt.

7. National and state Do Not Call Lists fall under TCPA statute.

8. Some states have laws that go further than TCPA.

9. Some lawyers will look for/provoke what they allege to be violations of TCPA in order to get a payout. Best Practices will help you avoid them.

10. Are the texts deemed informational or commercial? That is key to legal interpretations, as commercial messages must meet the highest standards.

Now that you know TCPA law for mobile marketing, Equiitext has the tools you need to run a successful campaign.

Chantel Fullilove

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