The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a declaratory ruling confirming “that sending a one-time text message confirming a consumer’s request that no further messages be sent does not violate the 1991 Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) or Commission rules.”
The FCC ruling comes in response to a petition filed earlier this year by SoundBite Communications, a company that provides text message communication services to consumers on behalf of its clients.
The FCC emphasized certain criteria to ensure that one-time opt-out messages do not violate the TCPA or Commission rules:
- The sender of the text message has “obtained prior express consent…from the consumer to be sent text messages using and an automatic dialing system.”
- The text message confirms the consumer’s opt-out request and does not include marketing or promotional information.
- The text message is sent within five minutes of receiving the consumer’s opt-out request or the sender can demonstrate that any delay was reasonable.
- The text message is the only additional message sent to the consumer once the opt-out request is received and does not extend to a follow-up confirmation call.
The Future of Privacy Forum filed comments with the FCC encouraging it to grant the petition, explaining the importance of opt-out confirmation messages in cases where consumers are at risk of privacy invasions or identity theft. Opt-out confirmation messages can help companies verify that individuals requesting the opt-out is in fact the subscriber, provide a record of opt-out activity in case the subscriber temporarily loses physical control over the phone, and will likely prompt-further inquiry in cases where the subscriber did not actually opt-out.
SoundBite sought the FCC ruling to reduce the TCPA’s legal ambiguity in this area, which has resulted in numerous lawsuits against communications service providers.