Is mass text messaging legal? The simple answer is yes. The more complicated answer is: it depends on how you use it.
The main thing to keep in mind with any sort of mass text marketing campaign is that ALL recipients must have opted in to receive texts from you.
Who Makes Text Messaging Laws?
*Note: The following only applies to text messaging in the United States*
Text messaging is regulated by 3 authorities: the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Authority (CTIA), the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Together, these 3 authorities have created a framework of what is and is not allowed with text messaging for companies.
Text Messaging Rules for Companies
- Recipients of promotional text messages MUST be opted in by giving express written consent. Simply giving a phone number is not considered express written consent.
- You cannot purchase lists of phone numbers and use them to send promotional materials.
- Informational texts have less stringent rules. You can read about the difference beteween informational texts and promotional texts here. The simple difference between promotional and informational texts are that the former relate to sending marketing material (eg. a coupon code), and the later about sending information (eg. a tracking number).
- There are a number of industries that are usually prohibited from sending promotional SMS, including but not limited to gambling, firearms and cannabis.
- Alcohol related texts are allowed, however you must verify the age of all recipients before sending.
To conclude, sending mass text messages is perfectly legal as long as you stay within the rules and regulations created by the governing authorities. The penalty for not following the rules can be steep, with up to a $500 fine per violation.
To stay up to date with your text messaging compliance, check out our SMS Compliance Guide.