Nearly six months after unambiguous rules changed around text message marketing, we’re still seeing many businesses that are not compliant.
The latest that I’ve noticed is a pizza chain with well more than 1,000 locations that is not asking for the required double opt-in when it brings a consumer into its mobile VIP club.
It’s hard to say whether the business realizes that it is violating the Telephone Communications Protection Act (TCPA) that mandates “prior written consent” otherwise known as a double opt-in.
What is clear is that it is a lawsuit away from potentially paying out load of dough.
Under the TCPA, a consumer may seek statutory damages ranging from $500 to $1,500 for each, individual non-complying robocall or SMS message, and there is no cap on total damages.
For an entity with more than 1,000 locations, that’s an unbelievable amount of exposure.
To review, the TCPA restricts telephone solicitations (i.e., telemarketing) and the use of automated telephone equipment. The TCPA limits the use of automatic dialing systems, artificial or pre-recorded voice messages, SMS text messages, and fax machines.
Revised compliance guidelines now require “prior express written consent” for texts made to cell phones for solicitation purposes.
"Prior express written consent" is defined as a signed written agreement that clearly and conspicuously discloses to the consumer that:
By signing the agreement, he or she authorizes the seller to deliver, to a designated phone number using an automatic telephone dialing system, telemarketing text messages; and
The consumer is not required to sign the agreement or agree to enter into it as a condition of purchasing any property, goods, or services.
How is a SMB or large entity supposed to stay out of trouble? One way is to read up on the matter. Another is to work with a mobile vendor that adheres to the rules.
Assuming that all vendors do is a recipe for trouble.
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program http://Goo.gl/t3fgW, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.