What, A TCPA Violation? But it was only an email!!!

Posted: April 5, 2016

iStock_000071742739_XXXLarge-1Quite often, marketers view the CAN-SPAM email rules in the U.S. as an “opt out” only environment. The common thought is that “we can email a consumer until they tell us to stop.”

Which is true…to a point.

Consider the Mobile Service Commercial Message (MSCM). The what?? An MSCM is a commercial electronic mail message sent to any address containing a reference to an Internet domain listed on the FCC’s wireless domain names list.

You may or may not realize it, but your cellphone service likely provides you with an “email address” beginning with your 10 digit telephone number and ending in your mobile provider’s domain. For example, yourtelephonenumber@att.mobile.net. If someone attempts to reach you at this “email address” the message is transmitted to your cellphone in the form of a text message, not an email. Find your own provider on the FCC’s list and try it!

To make matters worse, the FCC has deemed equipment with the ability to send these messages as an automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS). See section #108 on page 57 of the FCC’s 2015 Declaratory Ruling here.  

Consider the company that collects only a consumer’s email address on its web inquiry form, places no phone calls but instead only markets via email. Add a litigious consumer familiar with the rules of the TCPA into the mix and you have a recipe for disaster. Some email fulfillment providers will automatically scrub campaigns against the FCC’s wireless domain list. If your company is sending bulk email, you should ensure you or your email fulfillment partner are suppressing all domains found on the FCC’s list.

Please reach out to us at consulting@compliancepoint.com if you have any questions regarding the TCPA compliance requirements or other compliance related issues.


Kevin Mayfield

Author: Kevin Mayfield

Kevin Mayfield is a Managing Consultant at CompliancePoint, focusing on US Federal and State consumer privacy law and direct marketing compliance. He is dedicated to keeping his clients updated on the latest changes in the regulatory landscape. He feels his business development and account management experience in a heavily regulated industry is what helps him most in understanding what his clients are facing in their daily marketing efforts as they relate to compliance. Kevin has earned a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US) certification from the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP), a Customer Engagement Compliance Professional (CECP) certification from the Professional Association for Customer Engagement (PACE), and received his B.A. in Speech Communication from the University of Georgia. He enjoys family, fishing, and golf in his spare time.

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