Last Update: January 19, 2023
The Contact Consumers Messaging Policy applies to all messages sent via MMS, SMS, Chat, and WhatsApp messaging mediums. All messages sent through these channels should reach us free of any content-messaging filters.
To ensure that Contact Consumers and our clients meet the objective of this policy, we ask that users avoid sending unwanted messages. Messages sent through the Contact Consumers platform must receive the appropriate consent of the recipient, and they must also comply with applicable regulations and the standards set forth by the communications industry. Messages should adhere to accepted principles for integrity and civility.
Our Messaging Policy is a critical component of Contact Consumers’ Acceptable Use Policy.
Contact Consumers Messaging
Contact Consumers views all messages sent within the Contact Consumers platform as forms of Application-to-Person (A2P) messaging. A2P messaging encompasses all phone number types, including long code, short code, and toll-free. We do not deviate from our policy based on the use case, and as such, all messages that arise from the Contact Consumers platform must follow the guidelines and rules outlined in this Messaging Policy.
Our Messaging Policy contains specific rules, guidelines, and restrictions concerning the following:
- Abrogation of Consent
- Identification of Sender
- Use of Messages
- Filtering Avoidance
The Messaging Policy applies to all Contact Consumers clients who make use of Contact Consumers’ messaging channels. Any Contact Consumers clients who allow their own end users to submit messages through the platform, such as those in an Independent Software Vendor (ISV) arrangement, are responsible for the messaging actions of their users. All ISVs and similar consumers or companies must ensure their user’s activities are fully compliant with the established policies of Contact Consumers.
Proper Consent: A Definition
It is forbidden to buy, sell, or exchange consumer information for the purpose of obtaining consumer consent. For instance, you cannot purchase an existing contact list from another party and claim you, therefore, have the authorization to contact the parties listed on the list.
All Contact Consumers clients must meet specific requirements to acquire full consent for communication via the platform. Any software or platform providers that use the Contact Consumers system to send and receive messages from within their own applications or services should ensure their customers abide by these rules when engaging with their own users or clients.
Requirements for Consent
Specific requirements for consent appear below.
- Before sending an initial message to a customer or individual, you must have their concurrence to communicate with them, which is known as “consent” in the precise sense of the word. For consent to exist, the individual or other client must understand they will receive messages from you that are of the type you intend to send. You must record the other party’s consent through specific means, such as a signed form or document. A timestamp of the customer’s opting-in for messaging is sufficient if the consent occurs online.
- Customers of Contact Consumers who do not communicate with their clients in a reasonable timeframe after receiving their initial consent or who fail to communicate in line with their local laws and regulations must re-establish consent in the initial message sent to the recipient.
- Consent received from a customer only applies to the campaign or brand the individual consented to receive messages from. You cannot apply the individual’s consent to other companies, brands, or campaigns you run. An initial consent from a customer does not provide blanket consent for your other messaging activities.
- If a user decides to opt out of future messages, you must retain the proof of their initial opt-in in accordance with local laws and regulations.
The guidelines above for obtaining consent are considered best practices and are regarded as the safest means of preventing the potential filtering of your messages.
Requirements for Alternative Consent
There are two specific circumstances where a user can sufficiently claim they have alternative consent to contact a recipient:
Individual Initiates Contact
Occasionally, individuals will initiate contact with you via your Contact Consumers messaging channels. You may respond to any customer who initiates contact within that specific exchange. For instance, if a client contacts you to inquire about your services, you may respond to them and relay the information. However, you cannot initiate further contact with them outside of that particular exchange. Your customer’s initial message and your response will comprise consent and proof thereof.
Informational Messages Based on Previous Relationships
It is appropriate to communicate with an individual with whom there is a previous relationship in certain situations. If the individual has given you their phone number, there is a specific activity that prompts communication, and the user has not expressly indicated that they do not want messages from you, you can reasonably expect consent.
Messages in this category include the confirmation of an appointment, an order receipt, assistance with one-time passwords, order or shipping verifications, the coordination of pick-up locations, and the verification of service call times by repair persons.
However, it’s vital to understand that these types of communications are inappropriate grounds for promoting products or services or supporting specific causes or political campaigns.
Recurring Messages and Continuous Consent
Users of the Contact Consumers system who plan to send messages to recipients regularly must confirm their ongoing consent by providing a way to unsubscribe to future messages in a clear-cut manner through specific opt-out language, which Contact Consumers defines below.
All users must defer to their client’s preferences concerning contact frequency, and users of Contact Consumers should adhere to local regulations and industry best practices for reconfirming consent over the long term.
Identify Yourself as the Message Sender
Users of the Contact Consumers platform must clearly identify themselves as the sender in each of their initial messages. However, it is unnecessary to continue to identify yourself if the conversation involves follow-up messages or a regular communication exchange.
All initial messages sent to individual subscribers must contain specific instructions for opting out of future communication. Language such as “Reply STOP to Unsubscribe” or similar messages containing other typical opt-out words such as END, UNSUBSCRIBE, CANCEL, STOPALL, or QUIT are appropriate.
An opt-out keyword must be available for every communication. If an individual uses the keyword to unsubscribe from future communications, users may send a final message confirming their notification’s receipt and processing, but sending any additional communications to the consumer requires new consent to be obtained.
Users of the Contact Consumers platform must abide by certain usage limitations concerning content, jurisdictional rules, and age or geographic gating.
To ensure that all users and recipients have a positive experience on our messaging platform, we have certain restrictions on content in place that everyone must follow. The policy on banned content applies even to users who may have received otherwise clear consent from their subscribers to receive the content.
According to the Contact Consumers Acceptable Use Policy, users cannot send any content deemed unlawful, hurtful, unwanted, distasteful, criminally misinforming, or that presents a threat to the general public. Other prohibited types of content include:
- Content for items or services illegal in the recipient’s jurisdiction. A few examples include:
- Cannabis: The U.S. does not allow messaging related to cannabis. Although its sale and use are permitted under several states’ laws, the sale of the substance is still illegal under federal law. As such, messaging content concerning CBD is illegal since certain states do not allow its sale. Under the Contact Consumers Messaging Policy, we define cannabis messaging as any content related to promotional materials advertising the sale of cannabis or CBD.
- Prescription Medications: It is illegal to transmit messages for the sale or promotion of prescription medications that users cannot obtain over the counter in the U.S.
- All communications that contain hate speech, constitute harassment, or are otherwise abusive or exploitative.
- Fake, sham, or fraudulent messages.
- Messages containing malicious content, such as spyware, malware, or viruses.
- Content created to avoid messaging filters.
The above list is not comprehensive. Users should be aware of federal, state, and country-specific rules concerning messaging and adhere to them accordingly.
Most countries have their own legislation in place that applies to messages sent to their citizens. Users of Contact Consumers should understand these regulations before sending any content to resident recipients and ensure that their content aligns with any and all legislation.
Geographic and Age Gating
Users maintain responsibility for ensuring their messages comply with the country- and local-jurisdiction-specific regulations and proper industry-specific guidelines that concern the communications industry.
Contact Consumers platform users who distribute messages related to products or services with pre-existing age restrictions, such as alcohol, gambling, adult content, firearms, or tobacco, must obtain the appropriate consent from their intended recipients. In addition to obtaining consent, you must ensure that the recipient is of age to receive such communications.
All users of Contact Consumers must have specific protocols in place to guarantee compliance with geographic and age-gating restrictions.
Detection of Messaging Policy Violations and Avoidance
Users of the Contact Consumers platform cannot use the system to avoid its telecommunications provider’s or Contact Consumers’ unwanted-messaging prevention tools.
In accordance with Contact Consumers’ privacy notice, Contact Consumers regularly collects and reviews content sent within its platform. Our message collection policies are in place to detect violations of the Contact Consumers Acceptable Use Policy, including spam, fraudulent and illegal activity.
Specific examples of banned practices include the following:
- Content designed and meant to avoid detection of messaging violations. Examples include deliberately misspelled words or the usage of non-standard opt-out phrases and terms.
- Snowshoeing: Sending similar messages across numerous phone numbers with the intention of avoiding unwanted message detection or prevention systems.
- Other practices previously identified in this policy or Contact Consumers Acceptable Use Policy.
Users must agree to abide by these guidelines and avoid running afoul of local laws, country regulations, and telecommunication industry best practices.
Our Process for Violators of Contact Consumers’ Messaging Policy
If we determine a user is in violation of the Contact Consumers Messaging Policy, we will attempt to work with them to restore full compliance. However, if the user’s violation is particularly egregious, or if they continue to violate the Contact Consumers Messaging Policy, we may suspend or remove them entirely from the platform.
It is our intention that users engage with Contact Consumers only for legitimate messaging purposes. Therefore, if a user violates our policy or fails to comply with local laws, regulations, or industry-standard best practices, we will need to take action on the account. In some cases, actions may be swift, and we will provide limited or no advanced notice, especially in cases of severe infractions.