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In the video above, Tatango CEO Derek Johnson and TCPA attorney Ernesto Mendieta discuss Fisher v. Alarm.com and explain key takeaways and lessons text message marketers can learn from this TCPA lawsuit. If you prefer to read about this topic instead, see the post below.
Summary of Fisher v. Alarm.com
Many brands have faced lawsuits for allegedly violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The TCPA governs text and telephone marketing issues and requires marketers to obtain consent from consumers before contacting them. If an entity violates these rules, they can face fines of up to $1,500 per text or call.
There are several valuable lessons to draw from Fisher v. Alarm.com. Nick Fisher brought a lawsuit against Alarm.com for multiple unsolicited marketing calls. Alarm.com sells home security products, and Fisher claimed to have been contacted without his consent. In cases like this one, the brand is usually held liable for violating TCPA rules. However, in this instance, the judge dismissed the case finding that Alarm.com wasn’t liable and Fisher didn’t have sufficient proof to tie the calls directly to Alarm.com. While this case involves marketing calls rather than SMS messages, there are still important lessons to learn.
Who Is Liable?
Under TCPA rules, a carrier or brand is liable for calls or messages sent from the company or by a marketing firm they’ve hired. When a person is acting under a principal party, the principal party is legally responsible. For example, if a FedEx driver breaks the law and damages someone’s personal property, FedEx (not the individual employee) could face a lawsuit. A company can also be sued if one of its contractors or hired firms breaks the law.
In Fisher v. Alarm.com, the situation was different. Fisher wasn’t able to prove that the calls were made on Alarm.com’s behalf or under their direction. These calls had been made by individuals unrelated to Alarm.com who were looking to sell Alarm.com’s products. For the TCPA to be enforced, a brand must be found to have agency and control over the callers themselves. The details in this case were murky, so the judge dismissed the case, and Alarm.com was not held liable.
Why Is Fisher v. Alarm.com Important?
Due to the TCPA’s regulations, most brands consider themselves automatically liable for unsolicited contact with consumers. But things aren’t always so simple. This case shows why it’s vital to examine the details and hire a TCPA attorney to help determine true liability. The grey areas of the law are difficult to understand and costly to navigate—especially with SMS messages, where fines can add up so quickly.
Since your brand could be liable in possible lawsuits if mistakes occur under your direction, always do your research and work with reputable marketing firms and contractors who will maintain your high standards. We also recommend working with TCPA experts to market effectively while staying compliant with the laws. You’ll save money and protect your company in the long run.
Meet TCPA Requirements With Tatango
Tatango has been an industry leader for more than 13 years. Our text message marketing platform offers tools to help ensure you’re TCPA compliant. In addition to consulting with an attorney, our team of experts is ready to help—contact us today to get started.