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Last July, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) announced that a consumer can revoke consent provided under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) using any “reasonable method.” Now, the Commission is seeking comment on a Petition for Declaratory Ruling filed by Mobile Media Technologies (“Mobile Media”) asking that, at a minimum, a reasonable revocation of consent must reach the sender of a message sent with the consumer’s consent.
Mobile Media offers a “non-commercial text message broadcasting service.” The service, TextCaster Push, is primarily used by media outlets, educational institutions, and non-profit organizations to deliver informational texts. Prior to the Commission’s decision regarding revocation of consent under the TCPA last July, TextCaster used the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (“SMTP”) to transmit text messages. Mobile Media says it used the SMTP protocol because it was more economical than the other primary text messaging protocol, Short Message Peer-to-peer Protocol (“SMPP”). However, unlike the SMPP protocol, SMTP “is not designed to facilitate bilateral (two-way) communication,” according to Mobile Media.
Recently, Mobile Media received a demand letter claiming that a number of consumers received text messages from TextCaster Push after replying “STOP” to an earlier text. Mobile Media says the demand letter was the first notice it received from these consumers that they no longer wanted to receive text alerts because TextCaster Push did not support two-way texting. Therefore, Mobile Media claims it did not receive the “STOP” texts from the consumers and the revocation of the consumers’ consent was not effective.
Mobile Media’s Petition asks the Commission to clarify that the FCC’s Declaratory Ruling in July 2015 did not proscribe a particular method by which a consumer may revoke consent. It further requests that the Commission find that a reasonable method of revoking consent must actually reach the party initiating the message. Finally, in the alternative, Mobile Media seeks retroactive waiver of the Commission’s decision regarding the revocation of consent as applied to texts sent by Mobile Media prior to November 7, 2015.
The deadline for commenting on Mobile Media’s Petition is May 27, 2016, and the deadline for reply comments is June 13, 2016. If you would like to comment on Mobile Media’s Petition or have any other questions about TCPA compliance, please contact Seth Williams at email@example.com, Jane Wagner at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Nate Hardy at email@example.com.