Short Code Text Messaging Compliance
Short code text messaging is an excellent way to reach your customer and consumer base with relevant and time-sensitive information because text messages have a sense of urgency compared with other methods of communication. But it is important to note that text messaging is a permission-based medium that requires the sender to obtain the recipient’s consent to send SMS to their handset. Because consumers pay to receive text messages, the wireless carriers regulate the industry and create rules for interacting with recipients through SMS. CTIA is the International Association for the Wireless Telecommunications Industry that monitors text messaging for the carriers and issues violation notices. Non-compliant text messaging can result in citations, suspension, or termination of your short code campaign. The CTIA published a Compliance Handbook, effective June 2012, which clarifies the industry compliance rules, opt-in, and mobile campaign deployment.
Call to Action
A call to action is is an opportunity for a business to successfully capture a mobile number and an invitation for a consumer to provide their cell phone number in order to subscribe to content. Several examples include on-site signage, print advertisements, or a web page. The wireless industry requires that a call to action contains five pieces of information including:
Product description and quantity
What will the recipient receive by providing their cell number? And how often? (e.g. Receive account alerts 2-3/month)
What is the name of the business, or the text messaging initiative? (e.g. Dr. O’s Medical Alerts)
Include the keyword in bold that recipients must text to stop receiving messages. (e.g. Text STOP to unsubscribe)
Message and data rates may apply
Customers should know that carriers may charge them for these text messages. (e.g. Message & Data rates may apply)
Opt-In: Even if You Already Have a Business Relationship
It’s worth mentioning here that existing business relationships and the purchase of opt-in lists do not automatically allow a company to send text messages to those mobile numbers. For example, if you already communicate with customers via email, you must still get their permission to receive text messages. Or if you collect mobile numbers during an online transaction or other method – this does not count as an opt-in. Automatic enrollment in multiple programs is not allowed, and the CTIA requires a dedicated opt-in for each program. The CTIA Compliance Handbook outlines four examples for capturing opt-in. In all opt-in scenarios, consent to receive text messages must be clear and accurate at the time the mobile number is given.
- Enter a phone number online,
- Click a button on a mobile Webpage,
- Send an MO message containing an advertised keyword, or
- Sign up at a point-of-sale location
The reason behind all the rules and regulations is to eliminate unsolicited text messages, or SPAM. The CTIA Compliance Handbook defines unsolicited messages as, “All messages delivered before a user opts in or after a user receives confirmation of opt-out, and any message delivered in excess of the quantity advertised, are considered spam.”
For more information about the laws that address SPAM, read the FCC’s guide titled “Spam: Unwanted Text Messages and Email.”
CDYNE supports only the sending of opt-in text messages from the SMS Notify! API for both short codes and DIDs. In an effort to ensure that all text messaging sent through CDYNE SMS Notify! API is conducted responsibly, please read the Responsible Use Guidelines.
Contact CDYNE for more information about short codes.
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