FCC rules for SoundBite on opt-out text message compliance
The FCC ruled that a single opt-out text confirmation sent after a consumer drops out of a company's mobile marketing program does not violate the terms of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
SoundBite Communications, which supplies cloud-based customer communications services, petitioned the FCC in Feb. 2012 to rule that confirmatory, opt-out messages--one-time replies sent shortly after a consumer requests that a company no longer send text messages, confirming future interactions with that brand will cease--fall within the TCPA guidelines. The SoundBite petition (backed by organizations including the Mobile Marketing Association and the CTIA) stated that consumers have filed at least 12 lawsuits related to opt-out messages targeting companies ranging from American Express to the NFL. The suits allege these single confirmation texts are in violation of the TCPA.
"We grant a request by SoundBite Communications, Inc. and confirm that sending a one-time text message confirming a consumer's request that no further text messages be sent does not violate the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) or the Commission's rules," the FCC ruled this week. "Our ruling will allow organizations that send text messages to consumers from whom they have obtained prior express consent to continue the practice of sending a final, one-time text to confirm receipt of a consumer's opt-out request--a widespread practice among businesses, non-profit organizations and governmental entities."
The FCC emphasized that its ruling applies only in cases where the mobile marketer has obtained prior express consent from the consumer to transmit text messages using an automatic telephone dialing system or autodialer.
"The FCC's action on the SoundBite petition reaffirms that a text message sent by a service provider to confirm a wireless subscriber's request to opt out of a text messaging program does not violate the Telecommunications Consumer Protection Act, and more importantly, these messages benefit consumers," said David Diggs, CTIA's vice president of wireless Internet development. "CTIA has always believed that confirming a request to opt out of a short code campaign is a necessary last step to acknowledge the subscriber's request, and, as required by the Mobile Marketing Association's U.S. Consumer Best Practices, mobile marketing providers should always confirm receipt of opt out requests."
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