By Elyse Desmarais on April 28, 2016
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: complying with TCPA guidelines is an absolute must when using automated text messaging for surveys, marketing, and advertising purposes. Obtaining and recording consent to text from audiences is a necessary step in keeping inline with these guidelines for automated text messaging.
Unfortunately, a presidential front-runner was recently hit with a TCPA violation for not obtaining consent to text from his audience prior to texting. The road ahead shows a plethora of fines and a lawsuit if the allegations prove authentic.
A Chicago man claims the Donald Trump campaign sent him unsolicited text messages promoting his run for presidency. In a lawsuit filed this past Monday, the man “alleges Trump blasted the mass ‘Make America Great Again’ text message to cell phones without the consent of recipients, in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.” Unfortunately for the Trump campaign, thousands more could have received the unsolicited messages, meaning more people could join the class action lawsuit.
The text messages sought to opt respondents into receiving further messages from the campaign stating, “Reply YES to subscribe to Donald J. Trump for President. Your subscription will help Make America Great Again! Msg & Data rates may apply!”
Joseph Siprut is the attorney behind the case, who says that the plaintiffs are seeking $1,500 per text message. According to Siprut, this “could translate into millions of dollars, plus legal fees.” Siprut went on to say,
“This was a mass, unsolicited communication of promotional messages that the plaintiffs didn’t consent to receive.…how the Trump campaign went about getting their list of numbers we don’t know yet, but they don’t appear to have done it correctly and legally.”
The biggest mystery surrounding the alleged violations is how the Trump campaign obtained their recipient list and if they did or didn’t have participant consent. If they purchased a list and assumed it included consent to text, then that may be where the issue derived. It is never a good idea to assume a purchased panel or list has the appropriate consent for certain communications. We suggest speaking with sample providers at length regarding the details of the list you plan to purchase to understand what types communications you can legally use. Unfortunately, we haven’t heard Trump campaign’s side of the story to make any real speculations as to what went wrong.
If you want to learn more about TCPA regulations and how Instant Census text message surveys comply with these guildelines, click here to view our blog post on this sensitive matter.
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