Today the FCC has released a new set of regulations that impact the Telecommunication Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Moving forward from October 16, 2013, mobile marketers will have to obtain signed consent to market to consumers.
What will this mean for brands that may use text message marketing tactics? Some of the new information is below—but mobile marketers are encouraged to consult legal counsel to ensure compliance in the future.
The new regulations expand the old TCPA compliance to include SMS text marketing and automatic telephone dialing systems. This means “prior express written consent” will need to be obtained before using these marketing methods.
What does “prior express written consent” actually mean?
Previously, if a consumer listed her phone number (landline or mobile) on a form this was being used as “expressed consent” for telemarketing. Starting today, however, the FCC regulation requires “written consent,” which shows that the consumer knows exactly what she’s opting in to. For example, if a consumer gives her consent to be marketed to by mobile text message, she must check a box, showing that she’s clearly agreeing to receive advertising.
This is important for marketers to understand in order to avoid legal trouble. If consumers do not give express written consent and brands continue to market to these individuals, those brands could be at risk of class-action lawsuits.
How do brands stay compliant?
The best practice approaches are simple:
- Do not request a user to consent in order to receive a product or service. This takes the power from the consumer—so make sure consent is genuine and not ambiguous.
- Moving forward, if you weren’t already, keep a copy of participants’ consent forms. Keep them on record for up to four years—perhaps more if you have digital storage capacity.
For more details about the new FCC regulations and what this could mean for your brand, watch this thorough and informative webinar by Mobile Marketing Watch.
How will this impact your mobile marketing strategy? Tell us in the comments.
Image credit: Phil Roeder