Using text messages for direct-to-consumer marketing is almost as ubiquitous as emails and potentially more frequently used than print, online or television advertising, depending on the business and the industry. But when it comes to marketing texts, especially in the context of a larger campaign that utilizes different modes of communication to reach customers, there are TCPA compliance rules you need to know. Here, we’re covering the big things you need to know to ensure you remain in compliance if you’re sending marketing text messages.

A call is a text and a text is a call. In 2015, the FCC ruled that text messages are subject to the same rules and restrictions under the TCPA as phone calls. So if you’re already well-versed on the compliance rules for phone calls, the same ones apply to texts.

When it comes to opt-outs, texts are separate from calls or emails. That is, as long as it’s explicitly clear in your opt-out messaging. If it’s not, customers might expect that opting out in one place, say in an email, will make texts stop coming as well. If that isn’t the case, it can stoke frustration in a way you didn’t intend. It’s also smart (and considerate) to offer your customers the option to opt out of all marketing communications at once, and the ability to do so via text, if that’s the primary form of communication you are using.

You can send one final message after a customer opts out. This can be a confirmation of their opt-out, or something like “we’re sorry to see you go!” and instructions on how to opt back in down the road, if they so choose. To ensure this final message remains in compliance, the FCC recommends that you send it no later than 5 minutes after the customer opts out. If you wait longer than that, it may be misconstrued as a separate message that leads the customer to believe they weren’t able to opt out of communications.

You don’t need consent for a direct response text. But you do if you want to send anything further. Say you’ve run an advertisement that encourages the customer to text a number to receive information about a specific product or campaign. If they send that text, you are free to send an immediate direct response that contains the promised information and nothing more. In order to continue sending them other marketing text messages about other products or campaigns after the initial direct response, you need to obtain consent. What you can do is include a line in your direct response about opting in to future communications. If they do so, you’re free to start sending them other texts.

A peer-to-peer (P2P) texting system is not an Automatic Telephone Dialing System (ATDS) under the TCPA. Therefore, it is not subject to the same restrictions. According to the TCPA, an ATDS is any system that can generate messages artificially and send them to a large number of people without their express consent. Meanwhile, a P2P texting system requires that each text be sent individually and initiated by a person. In 2020, the FCC issued a ruling that a P2P system is not the same as an ATDS, which gives companies using these types of systems a little bit more leeway than those using systems that can generate numbers and send messages on their own.

Got a compliance question you would like us to cover? Let us know! In the meantime, to learn more about how CallShaper can help you stay in compliance with all rules and regulations, request a demo today.