The TCPA, or Telephone Consumer Protection Act, is a federal law regulating promotions and messaging by phone.
It includes the following major points:

  • 01You must have express consent before messaging.
    • Solicitation messaging requires proof of written consent. Evidence may include electronic opt-ins via mobile keyword and online sign-up pages. Written consent may be evidenced by paper sign-up forms explicitly describing SMS messaging content.
    • Non-solicitation messages (e.g., internal communications, emergency alerts) require documented written or verbal consent.
  • 02Solicitation messages may be sent only from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., recipient’s time.
  • 03 You should make sure your message frequency matches your disclosures.
  • 04You must only send message content that matches what the subscriber initially opted in to receive.
    • For example: If a subscriber texted your mobile keyword to only receive account alerts, you cannot send them marketing material as well.
  • 05Messaging programs must allow opt-outs by any reasonable means, and senders may not restrict opt-out methods.
  • 06Every TCPA violation is subject to a fine of up to $1,500 per message sent per recipient.


The CTIA is an organization created by mobile carriers to regulate message content and frequency.
The following types of content are prohibited:

  • Pornography, sexual products, otherwise sexually explicit material, and escort services
  • Illegal drugs and drug contraband
  • Alcoholic beverages, especially any promotion of alcohol to persons under 21 years of age
  • Pirated computer programs, viruses, worms, Trojan horses, or other harmful code
  • Instructions or materials for the assembly of bombs or other weapons
  • Disclosure of anyone’s private or personally identifying information without such party’s prior express written consent (or parents’ prior express written consent in the case of a minor)
  • On the basis of the practices and standards of your industry and community, any illegal or improper promotion to persons under 18 years of age
  • Products, services, or content commonly associated with unsolicited commercial messages (a.k.a. spam), including but not limited to online and direct pharmaceutical sales (e.g., health and sexual well-being products), work-at-home businesses, credit or finance management (e.g., credit repair, debt relief, stock and trading tips), mortgage finance, claims of lost bank accounts or inheritances, and odds-making and gambling services (e.g., poker, casino games, horse and dog racing, college and professional sporting events)
  • Material that displays any person under 18 years of age in an illicit or otherwise exploitative manner
  • Pyramid schemes or multilevel-marketing (a.k.a. MLM or network marketing) businesses, including but not limited to “get rich quick,” “build your wealth,” and “financial independence” offerings
  • Any libelous, defamatory, scandalous, threatening, or harassing activity
  • Objectionable content including profanity, obscenity, lasciviousness, violence, bigotry, hatred, and any discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation, or age
  • Advocation, promotion, or other encouragement of violence against any government, organization, group, or individual or any instruction, information, or assistance in causing or carrying out such violence
  • Any product or service related to death (e.g., mortuaries and cemeteries)
  • Any product or service that is unlawful where such product or service or promotion thereof is received
  • Images of authors, artists, photographers, or others without prior express written consent form the content owner
  • Any mention of any wireless carrier or any representation that copies or parodies any product or service of any wireless carrier

For more information, please refer to the CTIA Short Code Handbook and Guidelines:

Other Resources

Please note that the provided information is not intended and should not be construed as or substituted for legal advice. It is provided for informational purposes only. It is advisable to consult with your counsel on the precise scope and interpretation of any given laws/legislation and their impact on your particular business.