Why Texting Is An Effective, But Risky Means Of Communication

DNCSolution News from PossibleNOW — April 2015

Contributed By
Kevin Mayfield, Consultant, CompliancePoint

As discussed in one of CompliancePoint’s blog posts, more than 90% of adult Americans own a wireless phone. Americans are more likely to have their cell phone within arms-reach than they are their computer, and on average, a consumer’s text messages are viewed more quickly than emails. Combine these facts with the sheer number of cell phone users and texting becomes a very attractive channel for sending marketing and informational messages.

However, due to the level of enforcement activity surrounding texting campaigns, this marketing strategy could put a company at risk for hefty penalties. Because text messages fall under the TCPA consent requirements as calls to wireless numbers, the level of risk associated is quite high. See our blog post “Wireless Consent: Specific Preference Requirements Must be Met” discussing the consent necessary to market to consumers via text messages.

Some cases related to text messaging campaigns:
Life Time Fitness recently agreed to pay $15 million to end a TCPA suit, based on texts received by consumers during a four-month period. The complaint alleged that Life Time used computer software to blast text messages to thousands of cell phones, offering incentives ranging from deals on enrollment fees to personal training packages. Although Life Time chose to settle, the company acknowledged that paying $15 million was more prudent than litigating the case.

Facebook was recently presented with a $5 million proposed class-action suit accusing them of sending informational messages without the consumer’s consent. The text messages were not solicitous in nature, informing individuals that their Facebook account had been accessed from a new device. Many of the class members, however; claimed they never provided their phone numbers to Facebook and some had no Facebook account at all.

These two cases are significant in that they illustrate the magnitude of consequences related to a relatively short campaign along with the importance of the quality of the company’s consumer data. Texts sent without consent or to the wrong party can generate complaints. TCPA violations can be costly in today’s environment of class action lawsuits.

Therefore, it’s important to understand the rules and regulations and consider the risk of fines and penalties before conducting blasts or personalized texting campaigns.

For questions about text messaging compliance or any other compliance issues, please reach out to [email protected] or 855.670.8780.