Obtaining Consumer Opt-in
If you are using Zaius’ SMS solution, you must comply with opt-in requirements as outlined in CTIA Principles and Best Practices.
The CTIA requires that you:
- Obtain a Consumer’s consent to receive messages generally
- Obtain a Consumer’s explicit written consent to specifically receive marketing messages
- Ensure that Consumers have the ability to revoke consent
All of your SMS recipients must give you explicit consent and be opted in and/or should be expecting communications from you (e.g. Transactional SMS messages) prior to receiving SMS communications from you. The FCC monitors for consent and reserves the right to block messaging service or suspend your account if abuse is reported. Learn more about how to set explicit consent in Zaius.
Best Practices for SMS Consent
Provide Clear and Conspicuous Notice
“Notice” is the message that prompts consumers to opt in to your SMS campaign. You are required to provide your customers with a clear and concise notice about the type and purpose of the messaging they will receive. Ensure that consumers are aware of:
- The program or product description
- The phone number from which the messages will originate
- The specific identify of the organization represented in the initial message
- Any associated fees or charges
Additionally, subsequent messaging should not contain any deceptive language, and opt-in details should not be obscured in terms and conditions.
Content for Consumer Opt-In
If you plan to send multiple messages as part of your promotional SMS campaign, follow the CTIA’s best practices for recurring messages:
- Your recurring messaging campaigns should provide your consumers with a confirmation message that clearly informs the consumer they are enrolled in the recurring message campaign. You also need to provide a clear and conspicuous description of how to opt-out from the campaign.
- After your consumer has opted in for a recurring campaign, send your consumer an opt-in confirmation message before sending any additional SMS messages. Your confirmation message should include:
- Program name or product description
- Customer care contact information
- Opt-out instructions
- Disclosure that the messages are recurring and the frequency of messaging
- Clear and conspicuous language about any associated fees or charges and how those charges will be billed
Content for Consumer Opt-Out
You need to provide consumers with a choice to terminate messaging communications, regardless of whether the consumers have consented to receive the message. You should acknowledge and respect Consumers’ opt-out requests consistent with the following guidelines:
- Ensure that consumers have the ability to opt-out of receiving messages at any time
- Support multiple mechanisms of opt-out, including phone call, email, or text
- Acknowledge and honor all consumer opt-out requests by sending one final opt-out confirmation message per campaign to notify the consumer that they have opted-out successfully. No further messages should be sent following the confirmation message.
State in your messaging how and what words affect an opt-out. Standardized “STOP” wording should be used for opt-out instructions, however, opt-out requests with normal language (i.e., stop, end, unsubscribe, cancel, quit, “please opt me out”) should also be read and acted upon, except where a specific word can result in unintentional opt-out.
The validity of a consumer opt-out should not be impacted by capitalization, punctuation, or any letter-case sensitivities.
Types of SMS Content
In some cases, you may not have a customer’s explicit consent but you need to contact them via SMS, for example, for transactional messages or when the customer initiates the conversation.
You can refer to the table below to understand the levels of consent expected for various types of messaging. Please note that the examples below do not constitute or convey legal advice and should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from qualified counsel.
|What is it?||Who initiated?||What's the content?||
What's the consent?
Your message contains a sales or marketing promotion.
Adding a CTA (e.g. coupon code to a transactional text) may make a message promotional.
First message is sent by the brand
Message promotes your brand, product, or service
Explicit written consent:
Before you send promotional messages, the consumer should agree in writing to receive promotional texts.
Consumers may sign a form, check a box online, or otherwise provide consent to receive promotional text messages.
Receipts, order confirmations, appointment reminders, welcome texts, and alerts are in this category because the first text you send fulfills the consumer’s request.
First message is sent by the consumer or the brand
One-way alert or two-way conversation
Message contains information (e.g. Shipping confirmation, back-in-stock notification)
The consumer needs to agree to receive texts for a specific informational/transactional purpose when giving you a phone number.
Consumers may give permission over text, on a form, on a website, or verbally. Consumers may also give written permission.
Back-and-forth conversation via SMS
If the consumer texts you first and you respond quickly with a single message, the exchange is likely conversational.
First message is sent by the consumer
Your message responds to a specific request
If your consumer initiates the text message exchange and you only respond to the consumer with the relevant information, then no verbal or written permission is expected
Example for Promotional content
Example for Transactional/Informational content
Example for Conversational content
In addition to providing guidelines for consumer opt-in, the CTIA outlines best practices for SMS content. You are not permitted to send content associated with:
- Engaging in an activity in connection or conjunction with any pornographic and/or adult entertainment industry purpose, regardless of whether such activity is lawfully permitted
- Depictions or endorsements of violence, hate speech, or otherwise engaging in threatening, abusive, harassing, defamatory, libelous, deceptive or fraudulent behavior
- Content related to the sale or promotion of substances that are classified as controlled substances under federal law, including marijuana
Prohibited Campaign Types
Unless expressly authorized by Zaius, you may not use SMS campaigns for the following purposes:
- Third-party or affiliate lead and/or commission generation (see definition below)
- Advertisements for loans
- Credit repair offers
- Debt relief
- Debt collection
- Work from home, secret shopper, or other similar advertising campaigns