Businesses that engage in telemarketing, or delivery of text messages that contain marketing content, should evaluate their practices to determine whether any changes are necessary in response to the new FCC and TCPA requirements.
Saint Louis MO (PRWEB) October 21, 2013
The TCPA is changing the rules again. Starting October 16, 2013, revised rules under the Telephone and Consumer Protection Act will go into effect. The changes will require a written consent for autodialed and prerecorded telemarketing calls and text messages to cell phones. Businesses that engage in telemarketing, or delivery of text messages that contain marketing content, should evaluate their practices to determine whether any changes are necessary in response to the new FCC and TCPA requirements.
For informational texts and other non-solicitation texts, the existing “prior express consent” standard will continue to suffice. The new requirement does not apply to purely informational or transactional calls or messages, such as sending a link to a web site, flight updates, surveys, or bank account fraud alerts. An informational text that includes an upsell; such as a flight update followed by an offer inviting the consumer to upgrade to first class - would require written consent. There is limited guidance on what constitutes a solicitation, but to paraphrase the FCC, "if the text, notwithstanding its free offer or other information, is intended to offer property, goods, or services for sale in the text, or in the future, that text is an advertisement."
Providers of text message programs are advised to look at the content of their programs and determine whether they are sending messages for solicitation purposes. If they are sending text messages for solicitation purposes, then they must meet the “prior express written consent” standard.
Consumer consent must be explicit, meaning that the consumer must receive a “clear and conspicuous disclosure” that they will receive future calls that deliver autodialed and pre-recorded telemarketing messages on behalf of a specific advertiser. Their consent is not a condition of purchase, and they must designate a phone number at which to be reached. Limited exceptions apply to this requirement, such as calls, texts from the consumer’s cellular carrier, debt collectors, and schools.
Compliance with the E-SIGN Act satisfies this requirement, meaning that electronic or digital forms of signature are acceptable agreements obtained via email, website form, text message, telephone key press or voice recording.
The TCPA allows individuals to file lawsuits and collect damages for receiving unsolicited telemarketing calls, texts, pre-recorded calls or autodialed calls.
The new FCC/TCPA rules require that all services sending out messages with solicitation to do business have to use double opt-in to confirm consent from customer to receive such messages. Failure to do so can result in fines up to $1500 per each message sent.
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