As a business owner or manager, it’s important to stay up-to-date on compliance regulations, especially when it comes to communication with consumers. One key area of compliance to be aware of is the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which regulates the use of automated telephone equipment and calls or texts to consumers.
In this blog, we’ll take a deep dive into the TCPA and its requirements for businesses texting consumers, as well as the potential consequences of TCPA violations. We’ll also cover some best practices for ensuring compliance with the TCPA and maintaining a positive relationship with your customers.
What is the TCPA?
The TCPA is a federal law that was enacted in 1991 to protect consumers from unwanted telemarketing calls and texts. It requires businesses to obtain prior express written consent from consumers before sending them automated or pre-recorded calls or texts. This includes calls and texts made using automated dialing systems, artificial or pre-recorded voices, and SMS texts.
The TCPA applies to both voice calls and text messages, and it covers any device that can send or receive calls or texts, including landline phones, cell phones, and VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phones. It also applies to faxes, but the use of faxes for marketing purposes has become less common with the rise of email and other digital communication methods.
What are the requirements for businesses texting consumers under the TCPA?
Under the TCPA, businesses must obtain prior express written consent from consumers before sending them automated or pre-recorded calls or texts. This means that businesses must have a record of consent from the consumer, such as a written or electronic signature, indicating that they agree to receive calls or texts from the business.
Consent must be specific and clearly indicate the types of calls or texts that the consumer is agreeing to receive. For example, if a business is seeking consent to send promotional texts, the consent must specifically state that the consumer agrees to receive promotional texts from the business.
In addition to obtaining prior consent, businesses must also provide consumers with an easy way to opt out of receiving further calls or texts. This can be done by including opt-out instructions in each call or text message, or by providing a toll-free number or other means for consumers to opt out.
It’s important to note that the TCPA requires businesses to obtain prior express written consent for each and every type of call or text they want to send to a consumer. This means that if a business wants to send promotional texts and appointment reminders to a consumer, it must obtain separate written consent for each type of message.
What are the potential consequences of TCPA violations?
TCPA violations can have serious consequences for businesses, including financial penalties and damage to their reputation. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is responsible for enforcing the TCPA and has the authority to impose fines of up to $10,000 per violation.
In addition to fines from the FCC, businesses that violate the TCPA may also face lawsuits from consumers or consumer advocacy groups. These lawsuits can result in large financial settlements or judgments against the business, as well as negative publicity and damage to the business’s reputation.
In some cases, TCPA violations can even result in class action lawsuits, in which a group of consumers bring a lawsuit against a business on behalf of a larger class of consumers who have been affected by the TCPA violations. Class action lawsuits can be particularly costly for businesses, as they may be required to pay damages to a large number of consumers.
What is A2P 10DLC?
A2P 10DLC (Application-to-Person 10-digit Long Code) is a type of phone number that is used by businesses to send SMS texts to consumers. A2P 10DLC numbers are 10-digit phone numbers that are used specifically for business-to-consumer communication, as opposed to personal or individual use.
One of the benefits of A2P 10DLC numbers is that they are more likely to be delivered to consumers, as they are not subject to the same carrier filters as other types of phone numbers. This can be particularly useful for businesses that rely on SMS text messaging for marketing or customer communication.
However, it’s important to note that even if a business is using an A2P 10DLC number to send texts, it must still comply with the TCPA and obtain prior express written consent from consumers before sending them automated or pre-recorded texts.
Best practices for TCPA compliance
To avoid potential TCPA violations and maintain a positive relationship with your customers, it’s important to follow some best practices for compliance:
- Obtain prior express written consent: Make sure you have a record of consent from each consumer before sending them any automated or pre-recorded calls or texts.
- Be specific in your consent: Clearly indicate the types of calls or texts that the consumer is agreeing to receive, and obtain separate consent for each type of message.
- Provide opt-out instructions: Make it easy for consumers to opt out of receiving further calls or texts by including opt-out instructions in each message or by providing a toll-free number or other means for consumers to opt out.
- Keep records of consent: Keep records of the consent you have obtained from consumers, including the date and method of consent (e.g., written or electronic signature).
- Monitor your practices: Regularly review and monitor your practices to ensure compliance with the TCPA and other relevant laws and regulations.
Staying compliant with the TCPA is essential for businesses that want to communicate with consumers via calls or texts. By obtaining prior express written consent, providing opt-out instructions, and following best practices for compliance, businesses can avoid potential TCPA violations and maintain a positive relationship with their customers.
How Verse helps keep customers TCPA Compliant
Verse allows businesses to obtain prior express written consent from consumers before sending them automated or pre-recorded calls or texts, and provides consumers with an easy way to opt out of receiving further calls or texts. Verse also offers A2P 10DLC, a type of phone number that helps businesses send SMS texts to consumers in a TCPA compliant manner. With Verse, businesses can rest assured that their communication with consumers is in compliance with TCPA regulations and they can maintain a positive relationship with their customers.