The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) was made into law in 1991. This federal law protects consumers from telephone solicitations, the use of automated phone equipment (autodialers), and unsolicited advertisements. The TCPA limits the use of automatic dialing systems, prerecorded voice messages, unsolicited text messages, and junk faxes.
In addition, the CAN-SPAM Act supplements the protections offered by the TCPA, banning unwanted commercial email messages sent to a mobile phone.
Spam Text/SMS Messages
Short Message Service (SMS) is a text messaging service component of phone, web, or mobile communication systems, using communications procedures that allow the exchange of short text messages between fixed line or mobile phone devices.
SMS campaigns are a way for companies to send out mass text messages to a huge pool of mobile phone numbers. SMS campaigns are permissible under the TCPA, provided the consumers opt in to the SMS broadcast program, by first texting a “short code” to the business. For instance, if the business is a pizza chain, you might text “pizza” to their SMS number. After this initial consent, the company can legally send SMS texts, unless you later opt out.
There have been cases of SMS spamming resulting in serious money damages. Jiffy Lube, TextMarks, Steve Madden, the Academy of Design and Technology, and Papa John’s have all been penalized for tens of millions of dollars for SMS spamming.
Spam Texts are a Growing Problem
Americans received nearly 4.5 billion spam text messages in 2011, which is more than double the 2.2 billion received just two years before, according to Ferris Research, a market research company. Unsolicited texts have become a very pervasive problem and it can be difficult to track down who sent the message.
While some spam text messages are harmless but annoying marketing messages, a great deal of these messages are insidious, prompting cell phone users to visit a website and enter personal information or sign up for a fake service that will charge their credit card.
Spam text messages can also be very difficult to stop without legal action. In some cases, consumers who reply with a “STOP” message to unsubscribe only verify to the spammer that the phone number works and may be resold.
You May Be Entitled to Damages
In the era of smartphones, marketers, affiliates, and companies use text messages to market products and services and to solicit new customers. Unless you have expressly given your permission to receive these texts, the unwanted and unrequested text message may be in violation of the TCPA. Each violation may be worth $500 to you.
If you have not signed up for the message service, you also have the right to end the service at any time. This can usually be done by opting out through a responding text of “STOP” or contacting the company directly. If you have requested the service end and you continue to receive text messages, each additional message may be a violation of the TCPA and worth $500 to you.
If you have received SMS or text messages that you did not request, or you have continued to receive messages after terminating your subscription to the service, save the text message, make a note about its receipt, then contact Agruss Law Firm, LLC.
Contact us to discuss your rights under the TCPA. We will aggressively enforce the law to stop unsolicited text messages. Not only will we stop the text messages, but you may be entitled to money damages, too. Damages in TCPA cases range from $500.00 to $1,500.00 per text.