SMS Messaging and Compliance: What you need to know
When I attended the CCST conference in October as a speaker, I received a number of questions from schools around SMS, or text messaging. Specifically, schools were interested in the compliance requirements for using text messaging to reach out to current or prospective students.
While we have not been using text messaging as tool in CUnet’s mobile marketing efforts for a while, I’ve realized that there are a lot of schools out there who are looking for some guidance around compliance and text messaging. So, I’ve provided a summary of these requirements below.
There are two main guidelines to follow when conducting a text messaging program of any sort. The first is what’s legally required by federal law and the FCC, and the second is what’s required by the wireless carriers.
- Must have the end user “Express Prior Consent” to be texted, and the ability to produce the record of consent when asked
- The user needs to know they are being charged for receiving text messages – hence the language “Standard message & data rates apply” is important to be shown clearly wherever the user is opting in, including on advertisements, websites and other places where the opt-in is happening
- The user needs to be able opt-out using the same way they opted in allowing no more than 10 days for the advertiser to stop messages
- If there will be an opt-out confirmation message (which is a chargeable text message), the user needs to know that upfront as well
- Because of the nature of the a text message, the FCC can and may consider a text message something that meets both the TCPA definition of a “call” and the CAN-SPAM act definition of an “e-mail” hence compliance with both is required
2. From a Wireless Carrier perspective and based on the Mobile Marketing Association Guidelines:
- The user needs to know what is the program they are being opted into (title/description)
- The user needs to know that “Standard Carrier Message & Data Rates Apply”
- The user needs to know how to opt-out (i.e. “text Stop to #”)
- The user needs to have an expectation for the frequency of messages he will receive
- The advertiser needs to maintain a log with timestamp for opt-ins and opt-outs to prove user subscription
- If the user opted in from the web, there needs to be a double opt-in process to verify handset ownership (user texts back “ok” to confirm)
- Help command information should be provided. This gives information about the specific SMS campaign when texted back to the originating short code; i.e. “for Help, text Help to (Short Code)”
- A URL or location where full terms and conditions can be accessed must be provided
- Customer support contact information must be provided
Do you have any feedback or suggestions? Please contact me or leave us a comment below.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 18th, 2012 at 1:24 pm and is filed under CUnet, Mobile. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.