SMS Regulations and Compliance

Messaging spam, known as robotexts, may have surpassed robocalls as the primary focus for scam artists last year. Spam robotexts, SMS and MMS messages, use many of the same tactics as robocalls, spoofing (or falsifying) the sender’s real identity to trick recipients into taking actions that can jeopardize anything from Amazon logins to bank account information. 

“Like robocalls, texts can be spoofed to mask the originating number and make it appear that the text is coming from a number you’re more likely to trust.” 

Federal Communications Commission

As with robocalls, the FCC has taken action to combat robotexts. If you’re a business owner who uses text messaging to connect with your customers, there are some important facts you should be aware of. 

  • Rules and regulations around texting from your business line 
  • New FCC regulations about spam texts from 10DLC numbers 
  • Strategies to remain compliant

Rules and Regulations Around Texting from Your Business Line

NUSO previously covered some of the business texting standards and expectations in the 10DLC Rules & Regulations article. Here are a few requirements demanded of every text-enabled business. 

✔ Register with The Campaign Registry (TCR) 

The Campaign Registry is a group created by mobile carriers to manage phone numbers businesses use to send text messages to customers. Registering helps ensure you follow the rules about sending text messages. 

✔ Use Appropriate Message Content 

Text messages can be informational, transactional, or promotional in nature. But they must be sent with the customer’s consent, which can be obtained through an opt-in process. 

✔ Include Opt-Out Instructions 

Every message must include opt-out instructions, which allow customers to stop receiving messages if they no longer want them. 

✔ Pay The Necessary Fees 

Many mobile carriers have set their own SMS regulations and require businesses to pay for the texts destined to the mobile carrier’s users.   

These are some of the general nationwide expectations. Many states, such as California, have additional record laws that apply to text messages, too. 

“The new rules will require mobile service providers to block certain robotext messages that are highly likely to be illegal.”

Consequences of Noncompliance

Sending text messages without proper consent can result in significant fines for businesses. Even if you hire a third party to send out the messages, you’ll still be responsible for their content and compliance. 

If you violate the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), you could face a federal lawsuit for actual damages or fines of $500 per individual text message, whichever is greater. These fines could triple to $1,500 per text message if the court thinks you did it intentionally 

If you violate the CAN-SPAM Act: Your business could be subject to fines of up to $50K per individual violation. This only applies to texts sent from an internet-based app to a mobile phone. Texts sent directly from one phone to another aren’t addressed. 

And the financial repercussions are only the tip of the iceberg. There’s no telling what effect violating these laws could have on your brand name and your customers’ trust.

New FCC Regulations About Spam Texts from 10DLC Numbers

As of March 16, 2023, the FCC adopted its first regulations specifically targeting the scam text epidemic

The Highlights 

  • Mobile carriers are now required to block all text messages from invalid, unallocated, or unused 10DLC numbers. This also includes phone numbers that have been identified as not being used for texting. 
  • Carriers are also required to set up a point of contact for people who have had their texts blocked. This extends to the carriers’ aggregator partners or blocking contractors as well. 
  • More SMS regulations are coming to block texts from illegal robotexters and ensure marketing messages aren’t sent to numbers on the Do Not-Call Registry. 

The NUSO Management Portal has functionality to help users register every brand and campaign with The Campaign Registry. 

The Impact of the New SMS Regulations on 10DLC Numbers 

For more details on 10DLC numbers, refer back to NUSO’s 10DLC article.

A Quick Refresher on 10DLC Numbers: 10DLC stands for 10 Digit Long Code, 10-digit phone numbers that can handle calls and texts. They’re regulated to prevent spam and ensure that businesses are transparent about their messaging campaigns. 

What Does This Mean for 10DLC Numbers? 

It means the enforcement of existing SMS regulations has gotten stricter than ever. And the consequences are steeper. Every business using 10DLC numbers is required to register with the Campaign Registry.. You can’t afford to forget to register a number or put it off until the last possible second.  

Strategies to Remain Compliant 

Here are a few ways you can remain compliant with the latest FCC rules. 

  • Make sure you register your 10DLC immediately and thoroughly. We’re talking as soon as the number is purchased. 
  • Set up a point of contact for customers whose texts might be blocked. Preferably a dedicated member of your support team who is knowledgeable and easy to reach through any channel. Make sure your aggregator partners and blocking contractors also have one. 
  • Closely monitor your text volumes. This allows you to see (and prevent) your company – or your customers – from sending too many messages to your recipients and risking a steep fine.  
  • Maintain message records. Keeping records of customers’ opt-in or opt-out status for text messages is important, especially since public companies are required to keep records of their business activities, including text messages, for up to 7 years under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. 
  • Keep an eye out for new regulations. The FCC isn’t done establishing SMS regulations. More are coming, so be sure you’re ready. 
  • Design (& use) a standard opt-in/opt-out message. It’s far easier to include an opt-in/opt-out message in all your messages if you take the time to pre-write one. And for our resellers, provide your customers with one they can use. 

Keep Your 10DLC Numbers Compliant with NUSO’s Resources

As the landscape of SMS regulations continues to evolve, it’s important for you to stay informed and up to date on any changes. Not only does this keep your customers’ trust, but it also helps you avoid hefty fines and potential damage to your brand. 

By partnering with a trusted provider like NUSO, you can help ensure your 10DLC numbers – and SMS campaigns – remain compliant. If you’d like to learn more about our solutions, the NUSO team is ready and willing to help. In the meantime, stay vigilant and compliant.

Contact NUSO for more information and resources on SMS / MMS messaging regulations and compliance.