Successful mobile programs are compliant with country and carrier regulations and guidelines. Learn about the processes and the requirements for compliant mobile communications.
For Short-Code Campaigns
- Compliance Self-Check
- Call to Action
- Terms & Conditions
- Use Case
- Message Content & Flow
- Sweepstakes Programs
For MMS Campaigns
For Long Code Programs
- User Consent
- Required Auto-Responses
- Long Code Terms & Conditions
- Example Terms & Conditions
For Canadian Campaigns
Message Content Assistance
- Message Requirements Breakdown
- Message Components & Verbiage
- Character-Saving Recommendations
- In-Message Abbreviations
United States FCC TCPA
The SMS-applicable rules adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) became effective on October 16th of 2013. Aerialink advises all customers to discuss these regulations with their legal counsel and take any and all necessary actions to comply.
The purpose of the TCPA is to protect the privacy interests of phone subscribers. SMS messages are subject to these regulations. Section 227(b)(1)(A) of the Act specifically protects wireless users, among others, from auto-dialed or prerecorded “calls” (that includes mobile messages) to which they have not consented.
These Federal rules apply to marketing-related content for all SMS and MMS routes as well as phone call telemarketing and are not mobile carrier, CTIA, or MMA-regulated. It is therefore up to each individual customer to implement these rules to comply with the FCC. Failure to comply with any and all revisions to the TCPA could result in federal investigation.
The following is a list of the requirements which must be met by mobile programs in order to satisfy the FCC TCPA.
- Opt-In: Express “written” consent is obtained prior to sending messages, and only after clear and conspicuous opt-in instructions have been provided which detail the method and circumstances under which the user is providing their consent so that all end-users are completely aware of what they are agreeing to.
- Consent Records: To protect your organization from future disputes, it’s advisable to maintain each contact’s consent for at least four years from that date in which it was given, which is the federal statute of limitations for bringing an action under the TCPA.
- Opt-Out: Clear and accessible unsubscribe instructions must be provided.
- “Do-Not-Call”: A record and listing of opted-out users must be kept for a minimum of four years, during which time those users cannot be contacted.
- Dark Hours: Messages cannot be sent between 9pm and 8am at the subscriber’s local time. (If your service sends messages to users in different time zones, contact your account manager about the various options we can provide to manage this requirement.)
- “Consent is not a requirement of purchase,” must be stated either at point of opt-in or in a Terms & Conditions page linked from that opt-in point.(see below)
- Terms & Conditions: All mobile programs must provide a mobile messaging T&Cs page.
Express “Written” Consent
There are two crucial points to consider with regard to obtaining consent.
- Content Providers, Sellers, etc. can no longer rely on “Established Business Relationship Exemption” as a basis for making robocalls and prerecorded telemarketing calls without prior express “written” consent.
- “Written” consent must be obtained.
Regarding compliance with the E-SIGN Act, a form of “written” consent:
“Because it greatly minimizes the burdens of acquiring written consent, commenters generally support using electronic signatures consistent with the E-SIGN Act. We conclude that the E-SIGN Act significantly facilitates our written consent requirement, while minimizing any additional costs associated with implementing the requirement.”
(FCC 12-21 section 34)
All methods of obtaining consent must adhere to the above guidelines by providing clear opt-out instructions and access to relevant information. They must be presented to the end-user clearly and conspicuously, and the end-user must be aware that they are not required to consent in order to purchase goods or otherwise interact with your business. The following methods of obtaining consent are therefore acceptable:
- Web Form or Widget
- Mobile App
- Digital Signature
- Verbal via phone
- Verbal in-person
**While most use-cases will utilize keyword-initiated SMS consent, organizations qualifying for exemptions to the “established relationship” ruling, such as Non/Not-for-Profit organizations, may send “invitation” messages to existing contacts. Please see the TCPA report for a list of applicable exemptions.
According to the TCPA Rules, violators may have action taken against them in a court of law for:
A. actual monetary losses suffered by the plaintiff as a result of the violations
B. $500 in damages for each violation.
Additionally, those found to have willfully or knowingly violated the TCPA or its prescribed regulations may be additionally fined - at the court’s discretion - for up to three times the amount available under item B.