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Can You Buy Phone Numbers for SMS Marketing?



In the video above, Tatango CEO Derek Johnson talks about whether or not you can buy phone numbers for text message marketing. Prefer to read? No problem. See the post below. You can also find answers to all your SMS marketing questions in our Q&A video library.


Can You Buy Phone Numbers for Text Message Marketing?

While you can legally purchase lists of phone numbers, the way you use those phone numbers can affect the legality of your text message marketing program. Are you considering purchasing phone numbers for a text message program? If so, it’s essential to understand that while you can purchase phone numbers, it’s illegal to send text messages to those purchased numbers.


Why Is It Illegal Send Text Messages Without Consent?

The United States enacted a consumer protection law called the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) that prohibits brands from sending marketing-related text messages to consumers who haven’t provided expressed prior written consent.

When a campaign sends text messages to purchased phone numbers, the owners of these numbers likely haven’t expressed prior consent and thus, haven’t agreed to receive these messages. This even means that you can’t send an initial text message asking if someone would like to join your campaign, as the number’s owner didn’t express consent to receive even that first message.


Why Would a Brand Purchase Phone Numbers?

When a brand purchases a list of numbers, the attached consumer data can provide valuable insight. While you can’t use the phone numbers to grow your SMS marketing list, you can connect the data to a subscriber if the person opts in to your SMS campaign. Combining your purchased data with your legal SMS subscriber list allows you to target messages with content that will result in a higher success rate while still maintaining compliance with the TCPA.


How to Avoid Costly TCPA Lawsuits

What happens if you send text messages to phone numbers that never opted into your text message marketing program?

It’s a violation of federal law under the TCPA and can result in costly lawsuits. Consumers can take action against you for sending them unsolicited messages, and the penalties can range from $500 to $1,500 for every unwanted text message you send.

So, before you decide to purchase a list of phone numbers, understand you can’t use those numbers for your text message marketing program. For more information, download our TCPA Text Messaging Survival Guide. If you have other questions, feel free to browse our free text message marketing resources. If you have a more pressing concern or question, don’t hesitate to contact us directly.

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