What is the Telephone Consumer Protection Act?

The TCPA was signed into law in 1991 as a response to a growing rise in unregulated and harassing telemarketing calls and faxes.

The TCPA restricts telephone solicitations (i.e. telemarketing) and the use of automated phone equipment. The Act limits the use of pre-recorded voice messages, automatic dialing, SMS, MMS, and fax use.

Without explicit customer consent, companies must adhere to strict solicitation rules. Solicitors must honor the National Do Not Call Registry, as subscribers may sue a company that does not follow the TCPA guidelines.

Source: Twilio

How does TCPA apply to marketing text messages (Connect SMS & MMS)?

Consumer consent is an essential defense under the TCPA and should be a primary focus of any business that communicates with consumers and customers directly via telephony.

In order to protect consumers, there are laws about when and how a business can send SMS messages to customers. Customers have to opt-in to receive messages from a business - this means the business cannot send marketing messages to customers unsolicited. In order for a customer to opt-in, they must accept the Terms & Conditions set forth by the business and as well as accept the TCPA agreement that is presented to them. This informs the customer what they are agreeing to and gives them their options on how to opt-out of receiving messages should they choose to in the future.

As part of the conditions of TCPA laws, businesses can only send marketing messages between the hours of 9AM and 8PM. The Connect tool does not allow for campaigns to be sent outside of that timeframe.

Marketing vs. Transactional Messages

Marketing messaging is promotional, and requires customer consent. It falls under the realm of advertising and is subject to stricter regulations as a result. All messaging done through Connect is considered to be marketing.

Transactional messaging is messaging around a service that is being provided. By purchasing a service, the customer has essentially agreed to get messaging around that service therefore it is not required that the customer specifically opt-in to this kind of SMS messaging. Order fulfillment and Loyalty point balance texts are considered to be transactional. If a customer opts-out of marketing messages, they are still subject to receive transactional messaging regarding services they have purchased.

How does Blackbird maintain TCPA compliance?

Each consumer who chooses to opt-in to Connect are prompted with the TCPA agreement in conjunction with subscribing to marketing SMS messages.

Consumers are presented with the following message prior to opting-in:

After reviewing the Clickwrap message, consumers are required to manually opt-in or out of receiving marketing messages. Acceptance of the Act is stored as a digital signature and triggers the TCPA SMS which ensures full protection against TCPA violation.

Consumers receive the following message upon opting-in:

When a customer opts-in to receive marketing messages, they will be sent the TCPA message automatically. You can view, but cannot edit this message. It is accessible to you by going to the Settings and Configurations Block, choosing the Business Settings Block, and then selecting the Notifications Block.

When a customer opts-out of receiving marketing messages, they will be sent the TCPA opt-out confirmation automatically. At this point, they will no longer receive SMS or MMS Connect messages.

How can you maintain TCPA compliance?

Please refer to our Help Center resources regarding Carrier-Blocked Messages, Unreachable Messages, and Connect Best Practices.

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