FCC Seeks Comments on Expanding Opt-Out Text Messages

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) is seeking comments on whether companies are permitted to send follow-up text messages clarifying the terms of an opt-out request. The FCC’s notice comes in light of Capital One Services’ Petition for a Declaratory Ruling filed earlier this month.

The notice specifically seeks comments on whether “if the sender of a lawful informational text message transmitted through an automatic telephone dialing system (‘ATDS’) receives a valid opt-out request from the recipient in response to that message, and that informational message was part of a program in which the recipient had previously enrolled that transmits several categories of informational messages, then, pursuant to the Commission’s ruling in Soundbite, the sender may clarify in an opt-out confirmation message to the recipient the scope of the recipient’s opt-out request without violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (‘TCPA’) or related Commission rules.”

The request for ruling by Capital One draws directly on the FCC’s 2012 Soundbite Declaratory Ruling. Under Soundbite, the FCC confirmed that sending a one-time text message confirming a consumer’s choice to opt-out from receiving future messages does not violate the TCPA. Capital One intends to extend the Soundbite ruling to cover a swath of opt-out messages that inform consumers of the context and scope of their decision to opt-out of their current subscriptions.

The deadline for comments is December 9, 2019, and reply comments by December 24, 2019. Comments may be filed on the FCC’s website or by mail.

Michele Shuster headshot

Michele is the Managing Partner at M&S and former Chief of the Ohio Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section. Bringing more than two decades of experience in the consumer protection arena, she advises highly regulated businesses on a wide range of telemarketing, privacy, and other consumer protection matters.

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