The Telephone Consumer Protection Act ("TCPA") prohibits, under 47 U.S.C. Section 227(b)(1)(A), "any call" made by an automatic telephone dialing systems ("ATDS") to all cellular telephone services, unless it was made for (1) emergency purposes or (2) was made with prior express consent by the party called. This is applied to text messaging even though the TCPA was enacted prior to text messaging being a reality.
The rules under the TCPA and the Federal Communications Commission ("FCC") ban many text messages that are sent to mobile phones using ATDS. The ban applies even if the mobile phone number has not been placed on the national Do-Not-Call list.
The TCPA is supplemented under the CAN-SPAM Act. This law bans unwanted email messages (which can sometimes appear as texts) that are sent to mobile phones provided they are "commercial messages." Commercial messages are defined as messages that are sent primarily to advertise or promote a commercial service or product. Federal rules require that commercial email messages sent to a mobile phone:
As with commercial telephone calls, texts and commercial email messages may be sent to mobile phones if the recipient of the messages has agreed to receive them. Consent to receive text messages must be in writing. Consent for commercial email sent to a cell phone can be either written or oral.
The FCC has ruled however that marketers are not in violation of the TCPA when they send a single confirmation text message that a consumer has opted-out of receiving marketing text messages. They are considered different from general marketing communications and therefore do not fall under the same rules. Text messages confirming that a consumer has opted out of future messages must follow certain rules.
How to Stop Unwanted Texts to Your Mobile Phone
Complaints can be filed with the FCC if a consumer receives:
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