Text SPAM – What you Need to Know

Yikes! I just received an unwanted, unsolicited text message from a business advertising their 20% off sale. I don’t remember signing up for text alerts. Then I notice that its not really a text alert, it is a group message by the sales rep I did business with 4 years ago. Now the whole group of people are blowing up my phone with their reply texts. “Take me off this list.” “Stop texting me.” Etc.

What can you do when text SPAM blows up your phone?

First, silence that conversation on your phone and complain to the manager of the offending business.

Second, file a complaint with the FCC.

FCC Rules

The Federal Communications Commission rules require that businesses follow very specific guidelines for SPAM – and yes, unwanted text solicitations fall under these rules.

Identification – Businesses must clearly state that a text or an email is an advertisement for products or services.

Opt-Out – There must be a way to opt out of future solicitations from that sender. (In the example above, through a personal phone group text, this rule was clearly violated.)

Return Address – There must be a legitimate return address/email address/phone number to reply back to as well as the sender’s postal address.

Consent

For commercial texts, you have to have been given consent in writing. Many times you’ll see this in terms and conditions on people’s websites or in fine print on contracts. If you don’t remember giving consent, ask the business to show you where you gave them permission. Non-profits and political and non-commercial organizations like schools only need verbal permission. So if you don’t want the local politician to text you, don’t give them your phone number.

Permission for commercial email messages is a little less strict. Oral consent counts. Giving someone your business card can qualify as oral consent to email solicitation.

File a Complaint

If you find that you’ve been a victim of unscrupulous texting by someone, you can report it to the FCC through this link where you can always read more about the rules governing SPAM texts and emails.

Don’t be tempted to blanket text people in a group message. It’s a great way to lose the customers you’ve worked hard at gaining. People’s trust is more important than your 20% off sale. I probably wouldn’t have written this post if I had received just a personal text.