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Overseen by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) of 1991 is the primary federal law governing telephone solicitations, including all manner of telephone, fax, and text message solicitations.

Cost of a TCPA Lawsuit

Who stands to bear the costs of a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) lawsuit? If you have to ask, the answer is probably, “You are.” Any business that conducts a significant amount of telephone solicitations is at risk of running afoul of the TCPA. Even non-marketing calls can trigger TCPA liability. This is a guide to the bottom-line expenses and hidden costs of TCPA litigation.

TRACED Act Mini Guide

The Pallone-Thune TRACED Act was signed into law by President Donald Trump on December 30, 2019. The act—whose name is an acronym for Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence—is sponsored by South Dakota Republican Senator John Thune and New Jersey Democratic Congressman Frank Pallone. This guide is an introduction to the new robocall legislation.

What is the potential liability of marketing texts that offer consumers discounts or benefits for forwarding offers to their friends?

This specific scenario has not been addressed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). In these sorts of circumstances, the FCC looks at a number of factors to determine who is responsible for user-initiated messages such as: Who decides when the text is going to be sent? Is it being used to do an unlawful activity? Are you spoofing? The issue is control. In this case, the fact that the consumers are going to be the ones sending the message and are choosing who receives the message makes it seem like the consumer should be responsible.

What about AI texting?

There is no specific Federal Communications Commission (FCC) guidance or Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) legal precedent regarding artificial intelligence (AI) texting systems. However, texts sent by such a system must comply with the TCPA. Automated texts of any kind, sent from autodialing or AI software, require consent.

There is an ongoing TCPA lawsuit related to messages sent by a hotel’s AI-powered digital concierge. It could provide some legal precedent as to how AI texting will be litigated and regulated under the TCPA.

If a consumer wishes to opt out of receiving marketing texts from campaign A but still wants to get texts from campaign B, are multiple opt-out options allowed?

Yes, you can have multiple campaigns with their own opt-out requirements, but you should make it very clear to consumers how to do it. For example, text “STOP A” to stop receiving messages from campaign A vs. “STOP B” to stop receiving messages from campaign B. It is also best practice to offer an inclusive opt-out option such as “STOP ALL.”