Imagine you’re one of the millions of mobile subscribers who have signed up for SMS offers and alerts from a brand. You love getting special offers and last-minute deals right on your phone and remain in the program for almost a year. Eventually, for whatever reason, you decide you don’t want to receive those messages on your phone any more. You reply STOP to the short code they’re coming from and receive a text back letting you know you’re unsubscribed and won’t receive any more messages. Is that final message – the one letting you know you’re unsubscribed – in violation of your request to be unsubscribed?
It’s perhaps a silly question that resulted in a not-so-silly class action lawsuit last year. Banking and financial services company Barclays dished out $8 million last year in response to a class action law suit that used a 1990s-era telecommunications law to claim the confirmation text was illegal. Barclays wasn’t alone; Bank of America, Gamestop, American Express, Twitter, and Facebook were among other companies threatened with class action lawsuits.
The lawsuits posed something of a Catch-22 for mobile marketers: the Mobile Marketing Association and CTIA require that final confirmation message, but the threat of legal backlash frightened many marketers to not include and hope they weren’t audited by the CTIA. However, an important new ruling from the FFC last week has struck down these class action lawsuits and empowered mobile marketers to send that final confirmation message. AdAge reports, “The FCC’s declaratory ruling released Thursday confirmed that companies and organizations may legally follow industry best practices and send a final, onetime text to confirm receipt of a consumer’s opt-out request of a text messaging program.”
The result is removing an unnecessary legal strain on the industry and empowers marketers to spend their time crafting new and exciting mobile initiatives for their subscribers.
For more coverage, check out the full AdAge article here.