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Out With The Old - In With The New

As technology advances each year, so do the tactics of telemarketers in their effort to solicit new services and products. Very recently, a movement started whereby companies began advertising through text messages. Tucked away in the voluminous pages of their terms and conditions, companies are providing confusing disclosures advising you of your consent to receive unsolicited text messages. As if receiving a random phone call from an automatic telephone dialing system while at work or dinner wasn’t enough, companies upped the ante in their campaign of sending text messages as well.

In 1991, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) required companies to collect prior express written consent before making an automated telephone call to a consumer’s cellular telephone. Luckily, in 2012, the FCC decided that a text message is identical to a phone call pursuant to the TCPA. However, since the FCC’s 2012 order, companies have been spending millions of dollars in their fight to limit their liability when it comes to any violation of the TCPA, including the use of text messages.

As a consumer, it is important to understand your rights. The law is clear that if you provide consent by accepting the terms and conditions to send you unsolicited text messages, or if you provide your cell phone number, without words to the contrary, you are permitting that company to text (or call) your cellular telephone using an automatic dialing system.

So the next time you receive a text message, look closely for an opt-out section, e.g. allowing the receiving party of the text message to reply with the word “STOP” in order to avoid further solicitations. If this does not end their telemarketing campaign, please contact our office and let us help you stop the proverbial harassment of telemarketers that is plaguing our cell phones today.