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Recently, there has been an emergence of questions on Listservs and discussion groups about the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Rumors are circulating that the industry is changing, that text messages are getting shorter, and ‘unsubscribe’ messages are going to be included on every outgoing message from now on. It’s not quite a panic, but I’ve seen several questions come across my desk in the past few days seeking clarity on exactly what’s going on.
Let me be the first to set your mind at ease: Omnilert’s services are not changing. We’re not shortening or restricting your messages, and we will not be appending unsubscribe information to every outgoing text.
With that in mind, I’d like to share our perspective on the FCC Declaratory Ruling and Order on the TCPA. Please keep in mind that this is not legal advice—you should consult with your institution's legal counsel to ensure that you have the policy and procedures in place needed to comply with latest TCPA implementation by the FCC. While the FCC ruling did provide clarification, it also identified new compliance risks associated with sending text messages and phone calls to recipients.
The good news is that Omnilert’s opt-in feature provides a critical tool that helps you stay compliant. For more than a decade, Omnilert’s solutions have included a “validated opt-in” feature, which, when used by your organization, requires a subscriber to confirm his or her express validated consent to receive emergency messages by entering a code that is delivered via text message to the subscriber’s device.
As you revisit the TCPA, and review this topic with your counsel, here are some topics to consider:
Maintaining up-to-date phone numbers and user consent<span">. Our understanding of the FCC ruling is that the responsibility is on the sender to maintain up-to-date phone numbers and opt-in permission from your subscribers. Having a defined process and plan to continually keep your data up-to-date is a good idea, and Omnilert’s opt-in feature is a good way to re-confirm users’ opt-in permission.
Non-emergency messages. You should be aware that simply having a subscriber’s opt-in to receive emergency messages does not necessarily mean that you can also send non-emergency messages to that subscriber. Based on our understanding of the TCPA, to legally transmit non-emergency messages, such as promotional or informational messages, you must obtain the subscriber’s express consent in writing before sending a text or calling any mobile device with a non-emergency message.