TCPA consent is not something that can be overlooked. It’s mandatory and regulated by U.S. federal law. For this reason, it’s vital for marketers and advertisers to comply with the TCPA consent agreement, in order to keep their business running smoothly and avoid legal issues.
However, there are a lot of different layers to the TCPA and many requirements that marketers need to follow, which can make compliance difficult to keep up with.
Thankfully, ActiveProspect is here to help you out. In this article, we will go over what TCPA consent is, what are the TCPA disclosure requirements, and how to get TCPA express consent with the right language.
What is TCPA consent?
The TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act), as explained by Eric J. Troutman of the Troutman Amin, LLP and TCPAWorld.com, is “the statute that prevents the use of certain regulated technology to make calls to cell phones and landlines without certain levels of consent – that are use-case specific – and prevents unsolicited marketing calls to phone numbers that are residential lines on the national DNC (Do Not Call) list.”
Therefore, TCPA consent can be defined as the process of asking consumers for express consent or express written consent to be contacted in order to promote a product or service.
TCPA express consent VS express written consent
What is the difference between TCPA express consent (or just express consent) and express written consent?
Express consent is not regulated or defined by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and it can be considered an agreement between the caller and the receiver indicating consent to be called at a particular number.
This type of consent can be implied. For example, if you give your phone number to your doctor, their office has presumed express consent to contact you for informational purposes consistent with the reason you provided the number. For example, they’re allowed to call you about your blood test results if you provide your phone number.
On the other hand, express written consent is clearly defined by the FCC as a written agreement between the caller and the receiver of the call that authorizes the caller to deliver “advertisements or telemarketing messages using an automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS) or an artificial pre-recorded voice.”
This type of consent must specify the receiver’s phone number and include their electronic signature, which can also just be a button affirming the agreement.
Why is it important to comply with the TCPA consent agreement?
Violating the TCPA can result in a fine ranging from $500 to $1,500 per violation. But that’s not all!
The TCPA consent agreement includes a four-year statute of limitations, which means that every call that is presumed to be non-compliant can be used to initiate legal proceedings up to four years after it was made. Also, the TCPA enables class actions, which means that one call could result in a class involving millions of different consumers who received similar calls.
To learn about what you can do to avoid TCPA litigation, read this article: TCPA Litigation and Compliance Risks: What You Can Do to Protect Yourself.
What are the main TCPA consent agreement requirements?
Here is the TCPA consent requirements checklist that all marketers should follow.
Internal DNC list and National DNC Registry
You’re required to keep an internal DNC list of consumers who expressly asked not to receive any calls or texts. Additionally, you cannot call any number listed on the National Do Not Call Registry.
Restricted time frame
Residential landlines can only be called between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. in that residence time zone.
You cannot make a pre-recorded call or send an artificial voice message to any cell phone without express written consent for marketing purposes, and without regular express consent for informational purposes.
You cannot make pre-recorded calls or send artificial voice messages to landlines for marketing purposes without express written consent, but you can make unlimited pre-recorded calls for informational purposes with regular express consent.
If you’re using an Automatic Telephone Dialing System (ATDS), you have to have express written consent for tele-marketing calls, and regular express consent for informational calls.
If you are calling without an ATDS, you do not need any type of consent for informational calls that are made manually, but you still need to have express written consent for a manual marketing call to a number on the national DNC list.
If the phone number is not on the national DNC list, then you are free to call that number – as long as you’re not using an ATDS – even for marketing purposes.
According to the TCPA, text messages are equal to calls. So, if you are using an ATDS, then you have to have express written consent to send marketing texts, and regular express consent to send informational texts.
If you are not using an ATDS and are sending a text manually, you do not need prior express written consent but you must ensure the number is not on the National DNC list.
If the number is on the National DNC list and you’re sending a text with marketing purposes, then you need to have prior express written consent.
When calling, you need to provide your name, the name of the company on whose behalf you are calling, and a telephone number or address which can be used to get back in touch with you.
What are the TCPA disclosure requirements?
The FCC has held that “written” consent can be obtained in a variety of mediums, including emails, texts, recorded calls, or website consent forms.
Whatever medium you decide to use, there are certain TCPA disclosure requirements that you need to abide by. Thanks to Eric J. Troutman of the Troutman Amin, LLP and TCPAWorld.com, one of the best-known lawyers in the U.S. telecom legal space, we have a comprehensive list of to do’s when writing a TCPA express written consent disclosure.
- You must specify how the consent agreement is going to be “signed” by the consumer. If they’re asked to click on a CTA button that says “I accept”, make sure to clearly articulate that.
- You must specifically identify the name of the company on which behalf you’re requesting consent to contact.
- If third-parties are going to make the call on behalf of the company, you clearly need to state that.
- You’re required to use the word “marketing”, “offer”, or “promotion” somewhere in the disclosure.
- If you’re planning to send texts, you must mention that.
- If you’re planning on using an ATDS, you must mention that.
- If you’re planning to use a pre-recorded or artificial voice for your calls, you must specify that.
- You should state that they’re going to be contacted within the scope of the specific subject matter for which they’re providing consent.
- You must state that consent is not required as a condition of purchasing any goods or services.
TCPA consent language: Examples and best practices
To be 100% sure you’re complying with the TCPA, you should always consult with your legal advisor. However, here are a few examples of appropriate TCPA consent language.
“By checking the box and clicking ‘submit’ below, you agree that we may call you at the number you entered above with reminders, offers and other info, including possibly using automated technology, text and recorded messages. Consent is not a condition of purchase. Reply STOP to opt out of text messaging. Standard rates apply. SUBMIT”
“By clicking ‘submit,’ I am agreeing to receive text messages from [offer name], [other offer], and business partners. I provide my signature expressly consenting to recurring contact from [company name or offer name] or its business partners at the number I provided regarding products or services via live, automated or prerecorded telephone call, text message, or email. I understand that my telephone company may impose charges on me for these contacts, and I am not required to enter into this agreement as a condition of purchasing property, goods, or services. I understand that I can revoke this consent at any time. SUBMIT”
“By clicking ‘submit’ I agree by electronic signature to be contacted by [company name] through a live agent, artificial or prerecorded voice, and automated SMS text at my residential or cellular number, dialed manually or by autodialer, and by email. I understand I am not required to sign/agree to this as a condition to purchase. SUBMIT”
Aside from using specific TCPA consent language, there are a few best practices you can keep in mind when obtaining consent:
- If your consent language covers both calls and texts, a consumer opting out of one can mean that they have opted out of both, unless you’ve made it clear that there are different requirements. However, you can clarify with the consumer whether they are seeking to opt out of one particular program, or all calls and texts to the number.
- Limit the number of repeat calls. A consumer who receives only a few calls is much less likely to complain or cause litigation.
- Avoid making multiple calls or leaving multiple pre-recorded messages on the same day, and limit the total number of calls to the same number.
- Avoid calling at inconvenient hours. Even if you’re allowed to call a landline between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m., maybe avoid calling over lunch or dinner time.
- Be respectful of the consumer. Even if they have consented to be contacted, use common sense and be courteous to the receiver.
Who can revoke TCPA consent?
Once provided, is it possible to revoke consent? Yes. Consumers have the power to withdraw their consent at any time and through any reasonable means. Although the TCPA lacks explicit guidance on how to deal with consent revocation, it’s advisable to promptly acknowledge and respect all requests to revoke consent.
How long does TCPA consent last?
Consent knows no time constraints or expiration dates. However, it’s important to remember that consent is associated with the consumer, not the phone number. So, if a number gets reassigned to someone new, you immediately lose any consent you previously had for that number.
Additionally, as explained above, consumers hold the power to revoke their consent at any given moment, using any means they prefer.
Implement a solution that allows you to prove consent was obtained
Whether you’re generating leads (for your own use or to sell) or purchasing them from third parties, TrustedForm offers a safe way to provide unbiased documentation of consent.
Issue TrustedForm certificates for every lead you generate
If you’re selling leads, TrustedForm Certify allows you to document exactly when and where consent was obtained, providing evidence for each lead you generate quickly and reliably.
Retain the certificates so you can access them when you need it
If you generate leads for your own use, TrustedForm Auto-Retain helps you comply with the TCPA by retaining proof of consent for every domain you verify with ActiveProspect.
Implementing Auto-Retain is extremely easy, all you have to do is:
- Create a free ActiveProspect account.
- Implement TrustedForm Certify.
- Enter your payment information.
- Enable the Auto-Retain option next to each domain.
Verify and retain TrustedForm certificates for every lead you buy
If you’re purchasing leads from third parties, TrustedForm Retain allows you to retain certificates for each lead you buy, and verify the certificate is authentic and matches the lead.
Thanks to Session Replay, you can see a step-by-step replay of precisely what happened on the page to provide the most authentic record of the end user’s interaction with the form.
This will help you find the exact moment consent was obtained.
The boundaries of TCPA are constantly changing, which is why it’s so important to stay up to date with the latest TCPA rules. Also, proving that consent was obtained can be a hard task, without the right solution in place. Thankfully, ActiveProspect offers an easy and effective solution to help you with that.
With TrustedForm, you can provide certificates that show exactly when, where, and how consent was granted by a specific user, helping you shut down potential TCPA litigation.
You’d like to see how it works? Click here to start a free demo.