Is bulk sms legal ?

Is bulk sms legal

How to send bulk SMS messages without running into legal problems

This article will explore the law on sending bulk messages to customers, focusing on the Spanish legislation around data protection and e-commerce.
Spanish legislation specifies a code of conduct only for SMS that carry an additional tariff. The general legal framework falls under Organic Law 15/1999 of the personal Data Protection act (LOPD), and under Law 34/2002 of the social information services and e-commerce (LSSI) act. The Royal Decree and Law 13/2012 also regulates this area in greater detail.

How to send bulk SMS messages without running into legal problems

The LOPD started to regulate the storage of personal data, which until that point, had been in a legal limbo. Businesses are no longer able to disseminate personal data if it is not public and there is now an increased number of instances in which this sharing of information is considered a crime. The Spanish Agency for Data Protection (AEPD) was created to ensure compliance.
The LSSI complements, in part, what has been established by the LOPD in reference to e-commerce, and adds some mandatory guidelines for businesses that obtain information from the internet and trade with it. Non-compliance can carry fines of up to 600,000 euros.
The Royal Decree and Law 13/2012 modifies some aspects of the LSSI to adapt regulation to the framework imposed by the European Union, specifically with regards to directives 2009/140/CE and 2009/136/CE, that concern the rights of citizens and e-commerce.
In short, in order to legally send SMS to potential customers, you need to make sure you have consent, and clearly state how customers can unsubscribe if and when they want to. This is mandatory as long as the data isn’t public – discounting companies that receive publicity.

Recommended good practices

1. Check the legality of your database, especially a database of personal contacts. If you have sourced it yourself, it’s as simple as creating a document in which you have customer consent to receive advertising information. If you bought the database, we advise you to ask again to avoid issues.
2. Once you have the express consent of your customers, modify the frequency of your messages. As a general rule, more than two communications per week offering products or promotions has the opposite effect on a potential customer. Always warn in advance that the SMS is publicity.
3. Identify yourself clearly and transparently. This will generate trust in users and will help to dispel doubts or misgivings. You can outsource your messaging to another company but make sure that your company is able to receive and respond to inquiries.
4. It is mandatory that you clearly state to customers how they can unsubscribe. The option to unsubscribe is usually embedded in the text of the message, in a short sentence explaining what to do if customers want to stop receiving messages. You might lose a contact in the short term, but that is a lot better than a customer becoming resentful towards your brand.
5. Finally, keep in mind that for any modification, such as selling or passing on data to another company, you will have to consult the user if you have not otherwise explicitly indicated that you might do it.
Follow these simple guidelines to utilize your database to attract customers to your company or business without getting into legal trouble, and ensure that potential customers feel positively towards your brand.

TRAI gives 3 days to comply with bulk SMS norms

Even after this period, if they fail to fulfil the regulatory requirements, they would not be allowed to send bulk communication using telecom resources,” TRAI said.

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India
By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Telecom regulator TRAI on Friday warned entities that need to send out bulk SMS messages, such as banks and e-commerce companies, that they would be barred from sending out such communications unless they fully complied with its telemarketing rules within three days. TRAI had been forced to suspend the newly-implemented rules for a week starting Tuesday after large scale disruptions occurred in SMS operations and many OTP messages from banks and companies failed to be delivered.

The regulator blamed the lack of compliance for the disruption, noting that the principal entities (that send out bulk SMSes) had had two years to register themselves as required by law. On Friday, TRAI said all such entities will have to register themselves within three days or face a bar on sending such SMSes.

“It has been decided that those principal entities that do not comply with the regulatory requirements within three days time period failing which the names of defaulting entities would be displayed on the website. Even after this period, if they fail to fulfil the regulatory requirements, they would not be allowed to send bulk communication using telecom resources,” TRAI said.

Telemarketing rules stipulate that principal entities, who need to send out messages, need to register with the messaging service provider, choose a header which will identify the entity in a few characters, register a content template, and take consumer consent before being allowed to send out bulk messages.

The process had been published by TRAI under the Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations (TCCCPR), 2018, as far back as July 19, 2018, and the regulations had come into force on February 28, 2019.

The initial plan had been to weed out entities that had not complied through occasional scrubbing and on March 8, the regulator initiated just such a process. After this lead to the disruption in SMS traffic, TRAI put off the process by a week.

“Trai, hereby, once again requests all the principal entities (sender or businesses, private as well government bodies) using telecom resources to send bulk messages… to fulfil the regulatory requirements immediately,” TRAI’s Friday statement warned.