Email Inboxes full of unwanted, virus filled, spam. Wasted time, employee resources and software money spent just to filter out trash from emails. You unsubscribe and unwittingly spammers know they have a live email address and sell your address to other spammers. Now the spam increases exponentially. You know the problem. Billions wasted each year at no cost to the spammers or the companies that hire them. But now look at your text message inbox. Not so bad. Why? The reason is the TCPA, The Telephone Consumer Protecton Act
The TCPA is a Federal Law that not only prohibits unsolicited automated cell phone calls (texts are included) it actually provides teeth to sanctions for spammers who knowingly break the law. Under the TCPA, text spammers are fined $500.00 per text (more if you can prove intentional violations) when they use automatic telephone dialing equipment to blast out text messages without invitation.
While the penalty may sound expensive (especially to spammers) that is precisely the point. Text messages are extremely intrusive. They are usually only in one inbox on your phone, they are often tied to a ringer and they are very hard to ignore or even delete en mass. Imagine if your phone buzzed any time some company decided it was a good idea to offer a product or service to you without invitation. What if we all had to go and buy special phone software to keep out unwanted spam text messages? Or more to the point, why should we have to pay to purchase spam blocking software or pay in lost productive time spent deleting text spam that is sent to us without permission?
Instead, a novel idea that really works is to make the spammer pay you for the privilege of sending the message. The TCPA does that for mass automated messages. Some marketing messages may be worth it, (one can envision a Ferrari Spam to the Fortune 500 Richest Americans perhaps), but on the whole most spammers will revisit the spam idea when they realize that the cost of the message is $500.00. In some cases $500.00 may not even be a fair bargain considering say you are spamming a surgeon whose time spent deleting text spam is valued at thousands per hour. This is not even a business v. consumer issue because many businesses lose millions each year fighting or dealing with email spam costs. Such expenses would be multiplied if the same abuses took place in text spamming. Imagine your employees text message box ringing all day with spam text messages. Yuk. Further, the TCPA does not hurt small businesses that want to send commercial text messages because, as long as they send the message manually, there is no penalty for such a text message under the TCPA. So if a company needs to text a great customer, as long as it is an individual, not automated, dial, it is permitted under the TCPA with no penalty. What a perfectly designed law: it prevents mass abuse but allows targeted personal messages even for commercial purposes.
No other country has the TCPA. As a result, many times, if you visit a foreign country and get a cell phone number there, in a very short time you will be inundated with text spam. Go to Asia and see try it yourself.
The great thing about the TCPA is that it keeps our text message inboxes relatively free from commercial, unwanted spam. I say "relatively" because there are still some bad apples out there: Companies that get your mobile number and then abuse that trust by sending unsolicited text messages as part of mass text mailings; or companies that refuse to stop sending text messages when you reply STOP. But you can STOP the text spam and get $500.00 for the privilege of doing so.
If you have a problem with spam text the TCPA lets you fight back.