There are several laws that regulate the issue of sending text (SMS) messaging to consumers in the U.S.:
- Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)
The TCPA is the federal anti-telemarketing law and main regulation of SMS messages marketing. The legislation requires companies and organizations to obtain written consent from individuals before sending them commercial messages. Consumers, whether past, existing, or potential, must give businesses “express written consent” before the company can send them automated promotional text messages. Just because a company has a customer’s phone number does not mean the company can send said customer automated promotional texts. In addition, the TCPA created a National Registry of “Do Not Call” and prohibited companies from calling anyone on that list. If a company or organization violates the Act, violators are subject to a $500.00 fine per violation. However, it is important to note that if a company intentionally violates the Act, the fee per violation increases to $1,500.00.
- CAN-SPAM Act
The CAN-SPAM Act works in conjunction with the TCPA and is the leading legislation for SMS spamming in the United States. The CAN-SPAM Act makes it illegal for businesses to send unwanted text messages to cell phone numbers and requires that any commercial message be easily identifiable by the recipient as an advertisement. Under this law, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) can regulate commercial texts sent to mobile devices to protect consumers from unwanted mobile commercial messages.
Several government agencies enforce these laws, these include:
- Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
The FCC is a government agency that regulates electronic and media communications by cable, satellite, television, and radio. The FCC regulates telephone and media communications in the U.S. and establishes the regulations of mobile service providers and issues rules and orders that implement the TCPA.
- Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
This FTC is another government agency that protects consumers when dealing with lawsuits or violations that occur through the media. The FTC collects complaints about corporate theft, deception and misconduct through the media. They take action and impose penalties against companies that use text messages, calls or faxes to scam individuals.