New Text Message Advertising Laws
“Too many telemarketers, aided by auto-dialers and pre-recorded messages, have continued to call consumers who don’t want to hear from them,” began FCC Chairman, Julius Genachowski, upon announcing a new set of FCC marketing regulations set to be enacted this year.
Last Wednesday, February 15, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced a whopper of a telemarketing rule change. The new statues will take affect after publication in the Federal Registrar, which usually takes between two to six months.
Every online advertiser should run, not walk, to ensure they’re in compliance with these new text message advertising statutes, as the FCC does not mess around when it comes to initiating investigations. And if they find you guilty, you could be looking down the barrel of a quarter million dollar fine.
So what are these new, possibly marketing-channel-killing, rules? It’s all outlined below.
New FCC Robocall and Text Message Advertising Laws
Simply stated, the new FCC robocall and text message advertising laws make it illegal for telemarketers to place calls or send texts without express written consent from the consumer. Additionally, People must always be given an opportunity to opt-out – even after opting-in.
The new FCC statues only apply to telemarketers – public schools, pharmacies and politicians still have carte blanche to robocall and text unsolicited messages to their heart’s content.
The FCC is urging private citizens to use the “do-not-call” list as protection in the event of a rogue robocall or text message.
Major Changes From The Old Telemarketing Laws
The major change is the elimination of the “preexisting business” provision. Under the new laws, marketers cannot claim “implied consent” simply because a consumer had previously done business with a given entity.
Another notable change is that automated text messages now join the legal-ranks of automatically dialed and prerecorded telephone messages.
What The New FCC Text Message Advertising Laws Mean For Internet and Mobile Advertisers
So, what does this all mean for you ninjas of Internet and affiliate marketing?
Perhaps most importantly, you should be aware that the new rules could potentially kill some “offer paths” — depending on how you choose to set up the required business processes.
Super-safe compliance would mean an opt-in notice at the top of the transaction. That being said, the laws are still brand new and untested – so you may be able to get away with a checkbox of acceptance right before the point where one would have to, say, enter their phone number.
Your best bet is to contact an Internet lawyer well-versed in FCC and FTC regulations for counsel. This law change is a major one, and you don’t want to get caught with your pants down.
A Final Warning About The New FCC Text Message Advertising Laws
If you use text messaging as a marketing tool, get in touch with an online advertising lawyer today. This law change is not to be ignored – getting caught could cost you your business. After the new telemarketing laws are published in the Federal Registrar, you’ll have 12 months to establish a written consent process and only 90 days to implement an interactive opt-out mechanism for any automated text-message ads you send.
The sentence “Any type of phone call or text to a wireless device needs written consent,” which was spoken by an FCC representative at the announcement, should be on the top of every online advertiser’s mind.
Want to make sure you’re implementing the new FCC text message advertising standards correctly? Contact Aaron Kelly – an Internet lawyer who has a special talent for identifying the “tech” in “technicality.”