How to comply with the law
(This is part 10 in the MFP’s partner SimpleTexting 101 Beginners Guide to SMS Marketing.)
Compliance is not optional.
In the world of SMS marketing, compliance refers to laws that protect consumers from unwanted and/or spammy texts. Said laws were laid down in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which took effect in 1991 and has since been updated with SMS-specific rules.
If you’re in the text marketing business, you are required to obtain express written consent before you send your campaigns—or face lawsuits and penalties. Neither My Fave Places nor SimpleTexting can be held liable for compliance breaches you create.
Compliance is not difficult.
Fortunately, complying with the TCPA is pretty straightforward. It’s just a matter of making sure you’ve got the right information in your call to action. Such information includes:
The purpose of your campaign
Disclosure: “Message and data rates may apply”
Link to terms & conditions
For a good illustration of what this might look like in an ad, check out this article about SMS compliance.
Carrier SPAM Mitigation
Restricted Messaging Content
In June 2016, AT&T released an amendment to their SPAM mitigation policy which prohibits the sending of High Risk Financial offers on shared short codes. The restricted types of messaging include:
Loan origination and matching
Debt consolidation and reduction
Credit repair programs
Tax relief programs
Work from home programs
Maintaining compliance for an SMS campaign means ensuring your messaging content is appropriate and falls within these guidelines.
All of our clients have a legal obligation to ensure that their messaging content is compliant with applicable state and federal laws, as well as all requirements established and enforced by the CTIA, the regulatory body that oversees SMS/text messages transmitted via short code. Individual carriers also play a role in mitigating SPAM and regulate certain types of messaging that is delivered via short code.
For this reason, messaging campaigns are subject to monitoring and approval. We reserve the right to remove an account for non-compliance as outlined in our Terms and Conditions.
The CTIA calls out the following categories of messages that cannot be delivered via a short-code for both legal and ethical reasons. They also note that it’s very important the content that is sent be appropriate for the audience that it is being delivered to.
Any content related to SHAFT (sex, hate, alcohol, firearms or tobacco) which may include:
Using alcoholic brand names “Get a free Budweiser”,
Depictions or endorsements of violence,
Adult or otherwise inappropriate content,
Endorsement of illegal or illicit drugs.