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SMS Compliance for the US/CA Customers: TCPA
SMS Compliance for the US/CA Customers: TCPA
Ira avatar
Written by Ira
Updated over a week ago

Most Omnisend users send their texts to customers inside and outside the US. While there are no specific regulations for the rest of the world (apart from the GDPR in the EU), to send your texts to US/CA customers, you need to be TCPA compliant. 

To address this problem, we have designed two different editors, one for the US/CA recipients and another for the rest of the world. This article will focus on the SMS messages sent to the US/CA recipients only. 


Before you start

  • Before you can start sending your messages to the US/CA customers, you need to get their implicit consent to receive marketing updates through the SMS channel. 

  • The budget for the SMS messages can be included in your pricing plan ($1 on Free and Standard, Free SMS credits on Pro) or ordered as an additional subscription service (on any of the plans).

  • Check out dedicated articles for the instructions on SMS Campaigns and SMS Automations editing.

Changing SMS settings 

Functioning opt-out mechanisms are crucial for all text messaging Campaigns. To comply with the TCPA requirements and CTIA guidelines, your US/CA number must respond to the keywords HELP and STOP. When a customer texts one of these keywords, auto-respond is sent, and we update your opt-in list if needed.

Keyword Responses 

You should always acknowledge and respect customers' requests to opt out of your marketing. Therefore, when a customer replies with the STOP message, his subscription status for the SMS channel will change to Unsubscribed. The automatic response about subscription status change will be sent to that customer.

Customer care contact information must be clear and readily available to help users understand program details and their status with the program.

Therefore the reply to the HELP keyword will provide your customers with your company name and your contact information.

The default text can be changed in your account settings by going to My Account -> Store Settings -> Settings -> Language & translations.

Note! Our network provider sends auto-response for keyword STOP in the US. Therefore it's not possible to edit the text. It looks like this.

Contacts are re-subscribed to the SMS channel when replying UNSTOP. The auto-response for US customers looks like this.

There is no auto-response for CA customers, but this keyword is supported as well, so you may include it in your auto-response for keyword STOP by going to My Account -> Store Settings -> Settings -> Language & translations.

SMS messages design 

We are adding two options for the customers to unsubscribe from your SMS marketing: Reply Stop to unsubscribe for US/CA and Unsubscribe for non-US/CA customers.

When it comes to the SMS messages sent to the US/CA customers, adding the Unsubscribe option to the marketing SMS is mandatory. Therefore we allow you to include different opt-out instructions for the US/CA and non-US/CA customers.

Since the keyword replies are only relevant for US/CA customers, we suggest adding a reply STOP to opt-out text for the US/CA and the Unsubscribe link for the rest of the recipients.

After you fill in the text to the Sender's name and SMS text boxes, you can see how this message will be shown to the US/CA and non-US/CA customers. The key differences are:

The SMS sender's name isn't supported in the US and Canada. However, once you send out an SMS campaign to the US and CA, we will provide you with a different dedicated phone number for each of these countries that will be used for all your future SMS messages sent to US and CA phone numbers. So, your customers will see the same phone number each time you send an SMS to them.

Important! If your message exceeds the maximum number of characters for a single SMS, it will be separated and sent with more than one text.

Adjusting your sending practice

To ensure you comply with the TCPA requirements, we suggest you create a segment of the customers who agreed to receive your marketing through the SMS channel. If you feel that the number of consented customers is low, don't worry! The more time you spend with Omnisend, the bigger this Segment will get. 

Once you have this Segment, you may start sending your Campaigns to the customers included in this Segment only.

In your automation workflows, we are not checking whether your customers provided the consent record or not. Therefore, we suggest adjusting the settings to cancel the sequence for unconsented customers.

Collecting TCPA consent record 

Once you start collecting your customer's Opt-ins for the SMS channel, you must add TCPA legal block to your form, which explains that by submitting this sign-up form, your customers agree to receive your marketing through the SMS channel.

Moreover, you must add the privacy policy link. As a best practice, we recommend providing the info on how customers' emails and phone numbers are used (for marketing purposes) in your privacy policy.

After your customers submit this form, the TCPA consent record will be added to their profiles, along with the phone number and subscription status. 

Important! Subscribed to the SMS channel status is not equivalent to having a TCPA consent record. If your customer submits the form with the input field for the phone number, he will be subscribed to the SMS channel but won't have a TCPA record. With TCPA consent in place, we can be sure that your customers are informed that you will be sending your marketing to the phone number they provide on the sign-up form.

If you have more questions, do not hesitate to contact our Support Team, it is available 24/7 and can be reached via In-app chat or email at [email protected]

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