FCC Ruling Allows “One-Time Opt-Out Confirmation Messages” to Continue

FCC Ruling Allows “One-Time Opt-Out Confirmation Messages” to Continue

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:

  1. 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.”
  2. The text message confirms the consumer’s opt-out request and does not include marketing or promotional information.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

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