Navigating the Complexities of SMS Compliance: Understanding the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and Its Impact on Text Message Marketing

The TCPA was established to protect consumers from receiving unwanted telemarketing calls and messages, and has been enforced by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) since its inception.

In July 2015, the FCC issued a TCPA Omnibus Declaratory Ruling and Order to provide clarity on some of the issues related to the TCPA. One of the most important clarifications made by the FCC was that text messages are considered “calls” under the TCPA, which means that the same laws that apply to telemarketing calls also apply to text messages.

The entire TCPA law centers around the Automatic Telephone Dialing System (ATDS) or auto-dialer. The law has a loose definition of what constitutes an ATDS, stating that anything that is “capable” of auto-dialing, even if it doesn’t have the current capabilities to do so, falls under its purview. Today, almost every phone in business is internet-based and run by a computer that is capable of automated dials. This means that if you are calling or texting customers using a computer-based phone system, you are using an ATDS.

The TCPA was established to stop “unwanted” telemarketing calls and texts, not to stop customers and businesses from communicating with each other. However, it is important to note that every business has some level of risk associated with TCPA compliance, and attorneys can sue for any TCPA violation. Therefore, it is essential to know the law and ensure that you have a functioning opt-out system to avoid potential legal problems.

Honoring opt-out requests is essential for businesses that want to maintain good relationships with their customers and stay in compliance with the TCPA and other relevant regulations. Opt-out requests are a customer’s way of saying that they no longer wish to receive messages or calls from a business, and failing to honor these requests can lead to legal consequences, as well as damage to the business’s reputation. By honoring opt-out requests promptly and efficiently, businesses can demonstrate their commitment to respecting their customers’ privacy and preferences, which can lead to increased customer loyalty and better overall business outcomes. At TECOBI, we have developed an advanced opt-out system that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to detect customer requests to opt-out, adding extra security that our clients are in compliance with the TCPA and other relevant regulations while also providing the best possible experience for their customers.

Dealerships have been calling and texting customers who have inquired about vehicles for many years, using ATDS-capable devices over recent years. Yet, very few cases have been filed against dealerships for violating the TCPA. However, it is important to be cautious and use texting and phone calls only for clients who have requested information.

If a customer requests more information from a business, either by phone or text message, the business is generally allowed to respond to the customer’s inquiry without obtaining written consent first. This is because the customer initiated the communication, indicating a willingness to receive information about the business’s products or services. However, businesses should still be mindful of TCPA regulations and ensure that they provide an easy opt-out option to customers who no longer wish to receive messages. It is important to note that the rules around responding to customer inquiries can vary by jurisdiction, and businesses should consult with a qualified legal professional to ensure that they are in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. At TECOBI, we provide our clients with the tools and resources they need to stay compliant with TCPA regulations while also maximizing their marketing efforts and customer engagement.

In conclusion, TCPA compliance is critical for dealerships that want to avoid potential legal problems. Keep your texting and phone calls to clients who have requested information, and ensure that you have a functioning opt-out system. By doing so, you can safely and effectively communicate with your clients and avoid potential legal consequences.

It is important to note that the information provided in this blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The regulations surrounding the TCPA and other relevant laws can be complex and vary by jurisdiction, so it is essential to consult with a qualified legal professional before making any decisions related to TCPA compliance. TECOBI does not provide legal advice and is not responsible for any legal consequences that may result from using our services. We strongly encourage our clients to seek independent legal counsel to ensure that they are in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.

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Jason Girdner
Jason Girdner

Jason Girdner is a visionary entrepreneur and the driving force behind TECOBI, a pioneering automotive advertising technology company renowned for its innovative approach to dealership marketing and sales. With a rich background in automotive sales and a deep passion for technology, Jason co-founded TECOBI to address the evolving communication preferences in the automotive industry, particularly the shift towards text messaging as a primary communication channel.

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