The materials available on this website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact an attorney before launching a text message marketing campaign for your business, or with any questions or advice pertaining to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
Tatango provides more free resources on understanding the Telephone Consumer Protection Act than any other SMS provider. Below are some of the best free resources that Tatango offers to help your business understand the TCPA.
- Guide - Understanding TCPA Compliance (co-written with Arent Fox LLP)
- Webinar - Understanding TCPA Compliance
- TCPA Compliance Template
- TCPA Compliance Video Lessons
- Decision Tree - Messaging Existing Customer Databases
One of the biggest misconceptions regarding text message marketing is that as a business, you can send marketing text messages to a pre-existing database of your own customers. Makes sense, as they're your customers right?
Due to a federal law called the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), it’s very often the case that, as a business, you’re unable to send marketing text messages to a pre-existing database of your own customers. Why? Most businesses (99.99% in our experience) aren’t aware of the TCPA disclosures that need to be made to customers when collecting their phone numbers for marketing purposes.
Why does that matter? Without making the appropriate disclosures to customers when collecting their phone numbers, and then sending them a marketing text message, your business would be in direct violation of the TCPA. Doing so could cost your business up to $1,500 for each text message received by each customer. That means that if you sent one text message to a pre-existing database of 1,000 customers, it could end up costing you $1,500,000.
Since October 16, 2013, businesses have been required to obtain “Prior Written Express Consent” from their customers before being allowed to legally send them marketing text messages. “Written Consent” makes it sound like you have to give your customers a form to sign before you can send them text messages. While you can do this, luckily there’s another option, thanks to the E-SIGN Act. The E-SIGN Act states that because we live in a digital age, there is no need to actually put pen to paper to give “Written Consent.” These days, a website form submission or text message suffices.
In addition to making sure customers are aware that they'll be receiving marketing text messages from your business through an automatic telephone dialing system, the TCPA also requires that customers are made aware that this consent is not a condition of making a purchase. This means that your customers can’t be forced to consent to receive marketing text messages from your business when they make a purchase at your business.
The following disclosure covers both of the TCPA requirements. This disclosure must be made “clear and conspicuous” to your customers before they opt into your SMS marketing campaign. All this means is that you should display the following disclosure in close proximity to wherever you’re asking your customers to enter their mobile phone numbers. We recommend you require customers to also consent to these disclosures via text message before they opt-in, such as:
By participating, you consent to receive text messages sent by an automatic telephone dialing system. Consent to these terms is not a condition of purchase.