RT | How to Legally Use Text in Business | "can I send texts to customers?"

Can I send text messages to customers?

Yes! You can send text messages to customers if you get their permission and they go through an opt-in process. Since text messages are heavily regulated, most businesses avoid using text in business. Continue reading below to learn about how to legally use text messages in your business.

Can I send text messages to customers?

Yes! You can send text messages to customers if you get their permission and they go through an opt-in process. Since text messages are heavily regulated, most businesses avoid using text in business. Continue reading below to learn about how to legally use text messages in your business.

Can I send text messages to customers?

Robo Thumbs is a text message management agency for small businesses. We set up text message automations, scheduled texts, and various SMS strategies  for small businesses without the need to hire an in-house developer.

 

How to

Legally Using Text Messages in Business

Text messages are one of the most effective ways to reach people, and that’s why it’s heavily regulated.

 

The rules and regulations for using text messages in business share the same general principles in all countries – which is pre-authorized consent and the ability to unsubscribe (or “opt-out”). 

Step 1

Pre-Authorized Consent to Receive Text Messages From Your Business

To put it simply, pre-authorized consent for text messages means the customer has clearly agreed to provide their phone number specifically to receive automated text messages from your business.

– Consent must be very clear and specific.

– Consent cannot be a condition of purchase (this MUST be disclosed). 

– Without pre-authorized consent, a business can be sued under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

 

Fines for Unsolicited Text Messages

Fines for unsolicited text messages can range from $500 to $1500 per text message sent to each individual who did not provide consent.

 

Step 2

The Ability to Unsubscribe or “Opt-out”

Just the way it sounds, the customer MUST have a clear ability to opt-out at any time. The most common way to integrate this in messaging is simply ending a message with something along the lines of, “Reply STOP to opt-out”. 

 

Rules & Regulations

Text Messaging Laws in the United States

United States: The Telephone Consumer Protection Act

In the US, the three organizations that deal with text regulations are the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA).

While the CTIA and MMA are organizations that encourage best practices for text message marketing, the FCC is a fully fledged government agency with legislative powers that has enacted several laws, including the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and CAN-SPAM, to regulate SMS marketing.

According to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which has been the FCC’s leading regulation in electronic communications since 1991, businesses and organizations must obtain written consent from individuals before sending them any text messages. Even if a business has an individual’s phone number or already has an “established business relationship”, written consent is still required.
To ensure full TCPA compliance, the consumer must have received “clear and conspicuous disclosure” of the text messages they will receive from the organization, and must agree to receive these messages to their specific phone number.

To ensure full transparency, texts must include both the sender’s identity and opt-out instructions. Businesses must provide a means for consumers to opt-out by replying directly to the text message. Additionally, texts can only be sent between 8 am and 9 pm to minimize inconvenience to the consumer.

The consequences for noncompliance include financial damages ranging from $500 to $1500 per text message sent to each individual who did not provide consent. It is worth noting that tax-exempt nonprofit organizations are exempt from the opt-in and “do-not-call” requirements of the TCPA.

 

United States: CAN-SPAM ACT

Complementing the provisions laid out in TCPA, the CAN-SPAM Act forbids businesses to send commercial email messages to a mobile phone. CAN-SPAM defines commercial messages as advertisements or promotions for a product or service.

Note, this definition does not extend to messages that communicate about an existing transaction or relationship – for example, a delivery notification – or to non-commercial messages.

When sending a commercial email to a mobile device, CAN-SPAM requires that the email is easily identifiable as an advertisement, that recipients can easily unsubscribe or opt-out from receiving further messages and that the sender includes a return email address and postal code.

How to

Legally Using Text Messages in Business

Text messages are one of the most effective ways to reach people, and that’s why it’s heavily regulated.

 

The rules and regulations for using text messages in business share the same general principles in all countries – which is pre-authorized consent and the ability to unsubscribe (or “opt-out”). 

Step 1

Pre-Authorized Consent to Receive Text Messages From Your Business

To put it simply, pre-authorized consent for text messages means the customer has clearly agreed to provide their phone number specifically to receive automated text messages from your business.

– Consent must be very clear and specific.

– Consent cannot be a condition of purchase (this MUST be disclosed). 

– Without pre-authorized consent, a business can be sued under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

 

Fines for Unsolicited Text Messages

Fines for unsolicited text messages can range from $500 to $1500 per text message sent to each individual who did not provide consent.

 

Step 2

The Ability to Unsubscribe or “Opt-out”

Just the way it sounds, the customer MUST have a clear ability to opt-out at any time. The most common way to integrate this in messaging is simply ending a message with something along the lines of, “Reply STOP to opt-out”. 

 

Rules & Regulations

Text Messaging Laws in the United States

United States: The Telephone Consumer Protection Act

In the US, the three organizations that deal with text regulations are the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA).

While the CTIA and MMA are organizations that encourage best practices for text message marketing, the FCC is a fully fledged government agency with legislative powers that has enacted several laws, including the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and CAN-SPAM, to regulate SMS marketing.

According to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which has been the FCC’s leading regulation in electronic communications since 1991, businesses and organizations must obtain written consent from individuals before sending them any text messages. Even if a business has an individual’s phone number or already has an “established business relationship”, written consent is still required.
To ensure full TCPA compliance, the consumer must have received “clear and conspicuous disclosure” of the text messages they will receive from the organization, and must agree to receive these messages to their specific phone number.

To ensure full transparency, texts must include both the sender’s identity and opt-out instructions. Businesses must provide a means for consumers to opt-out by replying directly to the text message. Additionally, texts can only be sent between 8 am and 9 pm to minimize inconvenience to the consumer.

The consequences for noncompliance include financial damages ranging from $500 to $1500 per text message sent to each individual who did not provide consent. It is worth noting that tax-exempt nonprofit organizations are exempt from the opt-in and “do-not-call” requirements of the TCPA.

 

United States: CAN-SPAM ACT

Complementing the provisions laid out in TCPA, the CAN-SPAM Act forbids businesses to send commercial email messages to a mobile phone. CAN-SPAM defines commercial messages as advertisements or promotions for a product or service.

Note, this definition does not extend to messages that communicate about an existing transaction or relationship – for example, a delivery notification – or to non-commercial messages.

When sending a commercial email to a mobile device, CAN-SPAM requires that the email is easily identifiable as an advertisement, that recipients can easily unsubscribe or opt-out from receiving further messages and that the sender includes a return email address and postal code.

Do you currently use text for business?

 
 

Robo Thumbs is a text message management agency for small businesses. We set up text message automations, scheduled texts, and various SMS management strategies  for small businesses without the need to hire an in-house developer.

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