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What Is the 1-Call Exemption for Reassigned Numbers?


The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) is a federal law that covers automatic dialing and consumer calling from brands and organizations. Something that you might have heard of in regard to the TCPA is the One Call-Exemption. But what is it, and why should you as a text message marketer care?


Why Was the 1-Call Exemption Created?

The FCC created the One-Call Exemption, or One-Call Safe Harbor, in 2015, after a series of lawsuits sparked concerns for brands about accidentally messaging consumers without consent.

This provision was put into place because of a specific situation that was often resulting in litigation. In these lawsuits, the brand was initially getting consent from consumers to send SMS marketing messages and saving the phone numbers as valid numbers. But after some time, if the original owner of the phone number sold their phone and got a new one, someone else might come into possession of a consent-given phone number, without having technically given consent. In that case, the brand was unknowingly violating the TCPA because the phone number changed hands and was accidentally message consumers without consent.

The One-Call Exemption was put into place to counter these kinds of situations, where the brand would have no prior way of knowing that the consent for that phone number was no longer valid. These incidents were generating a lot of litigation at the time, and so the issue was examined.


What Is the 1-Call Exemption?

The One-Call Exemption states that the first call or text to a number is safe; it gives brands one chance to receive consent or delete that phone number from their system. This protects both consumers from receiving unwanted marketing messages, and brands from unknowingly text messaging a consumer without consent.

If you’re interested in learning more about text message marketing and the TCPA, check out our free TCPA Text Messaging Survival Guide.