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The Legal Risks of Sending Unsolicited Text Messages: A Guide for Businesses

Mar 20, 2023
Shamis & Gentile, P.A.

Are you familiar with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and the STOP message? If not, it is important to understand the reg

It is important to stay up-to-date on the legalities surrounding your marketing tactics, including the use of text messaging. While texting can be a convenient and effective way to reach potential customers, sending unsolicited text messages can result in legal risks for your business.

In this article we will cover some of the risks associated with unsolicited text messaging, as well as provide some tips and guidelines so you can make sure your company will not land in trouble later on.

The legal basics

In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates the use of text messaging for commercial purposes. According to the rules of the FCC, it is illegal to send unsolicited commercial text messages to consumers without their prior express consent. This means that if a business wishes to send marketing texts to a consumer, they must first obtain proper permission.

There are a few exceptions to this rule. For example, if a consumer has an existing business relationship with your company, you may be able to send them marketing texts without obtaining prior consent. However, it is important to be careful and make sure you have a clear basis for sending the texts to avoid any legal issues.

Additional rules and the consequences

In addition to the rules explained above, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) also imposes restrictions on the use of text messaging for marketing purposes. The TCPA prohibits the use of automated dialing systems and prerecorded voice messages to send marketing texts without prior express consent.

Violations of the FCC’s rules and the TCPA can result in significant fines for your business. The FCC can impose fines of up to $43,280 per violation, while the TCPA allows consumers to sue businesses for up to $1,500 per text message sent in violation of the Act.

Obtaining prior consent can be done through opt-in forms, which allow consumers to explicitly agree to receive marketing texts from your business. It is also a good idea to keep records of the consent you obtain, as this can help protect your business in the event of a legal challenge.

In addition to obtaining prior consent, it is important to respect the preferences of consumers, and allow them to opt-out of receiving further marketing texts. The FCC requires businesses to include an opt-out mechanism in all marketing texts, such as a reply text message or a toll-free number that consumers can use to unsubscribe from future texts.

Final thoughts

If your business is using text messaging as a way to contact consumers, it is important to be mindful of the legal risks involved in sending unsolicited text messages.

Protect your business and safeguard your interests with the help of our law firm. Our attorneys have extensive experience navigating the specific rules set forth by the FCC, as well as the current regulations as per the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

From compliance and regulatory issues to litigation and appeals, we have the knowledge and resources to handle all aspects of these matters. Do not risk non-compliance and costly penalties, Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn how we can help your business compliant.

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