INFORMATION TO HELP YOU MAKE INFORMED DECISIONS
HOW DOES THE TCPA LAW AFFECT YOUR TEXT MESSAGING (SMS) PLANS?
TextPower has consulted with TCPA law experts to provide you with the best guidance and resources for your business needs. Of course, it is wise to always consult with your own attorney for specific recommendations of legal actions, and you ought to take the time to learn about the decisions you make. We encourage you to point your lawyer to this page for information that will help to educate them about the latest rulings and changes to the laws.
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act, also known as TCPA, was developed with the aim of helping people. It was originally designed to stop the annoying and intrusive calls to our homes, offices, and cell phones by telemarketers trying to sell us a product, trip or service.
Consumers were annoyed by interrupted dinners and private times, so they asked for legislation to stop these intrusions. They lobbied to protect their cell phone minutes and shield their time away from work. In response, the FCC created TCPA to halt these calls and help insulate our private lives. However, the original ruling was broad and vague. A fear of violating TCPA laws caused many companies to avoid using calls or texts to contact their members and customers for urgent, important, or emergency situations.
WHAT ARE THE “BEST PRACTICES” TO BE TCPA COMPLIANT?
Utilities, courts, universities, and enterprises must obtain the cell phone numbers of people they are going to contact in the “normal course of doing business.” This can be done by adding the cell phone number in an online sign-up form or as a question in a customer service script.
Clearly state to the end-user that they are agreeing to allow you to send informational or emergency SMS texts to their cell number. Ensure this is clear to the user in your Terms of Service agreement.
Honor the terms in your Terms of Service and only send texts containing informational or emergency content to your users. Messages containing marketing material should first receive an appropriate opt-in from the end-user. This includes utilities, courts, universities and enterprises.
Use a text provider who has implemented, tested, and proven a robust opt-out mechanism. Allow end-users to unsubscribe from receiving texts of any kind. Include informational or emergency texts, and allow simply replying “STOP” or “QUIT” or “CANCEL” to allow the user opt-out.
The SMS provider you select should make their best effort to remove any numbers from the database which have been disconnected by the end-user and reassigned to another mobile user.
To summarize, get all cell phone numbers legitimately, use them judiciously, and allow users to opt-out easily. This will significantly reduce your risk of TCPA violation or penalties, and ensure happy customers.
WHO ARE THE EXPERTS IN TCPA COMPLIANCE AND WHAT DO THEY SAY?
TextPower has established relationships with some of the most prominent, knowledgeable, and respected experts in the field of TCPA compliance. You can see and hear what they have to say by watching the videos of interviews with them. Learn:
If utilities, courts, universities and enterprises abide by the “Best Practices” outlined here, will they reduce the likelihood of legal action?
What can happen if a cell phone number is disconnected and then reassigned to someone else?
What are the implications if a message is received by someone other intended than the original user of the number?
Is there any practical way to completely eliminate sending a message to a reassigned number?
What are the risks of not being TCPA compliant?
How do utilities, courts, universities and enterprises become and remain compliant with TCPA rules?
What are the most important things utilities, courts, universities and enterprises can do to avoid legal action? If a legal action is brought against you despite your preventive measures, what steps can you take to avoid losing a legal action?
TCPA COMPLIANCE RESOURCES
TextPower has been following TCPA rulings closely. We have written a number of posts about them (newest at the top):
We have also produced helpful videos about TCPA compliance:
The FCC has published many documents about the TCPA. Here are the most relevant ones for utilities.
TextPower provides text messaging (SMS) solutions, like toll-free number texts for mission-critical uses ranging from immediate communications with customers and staff to high security authentication of users. Our SmartAlerts™ platform offers utilities, courts, universities and enterprises all the tools to:
Send and receive thousands of two-way text notifications per minute. Notify about power outages, juror notifications, road closures, storm alerts and more. Bulk messaging (sending the same message to many people) speeds are up to 300 messages per second!
Notify consumers to curtail electrical load in real-time with “Beat The Peak” alerts and reduce energy usage and costs.
Simplify and clarify your crew call-outs and staff communications with texts. Users can get a message when they cannot answer a phone or answering one would be risky or even dangerous.
Reduce the costs and burden on your call center or IVR when power outages or security events occur and you need to respond fast.
Improve the collection of bills, fines, and fees with real-time disconnect notices via text.
Integrate with a large variety of third-party platforms such OMS and case management.
Easily integrate text opt-in processes with your website by using our TextPower widgets.