Ask the Attorney: I have started texting my customers about service appointments, is there anything I should add to my contract?
Yes, you will want to add a provision to your contract (or by a contract addendum, or separate written and signed disclosure) that the customer is giving consent to contact from you.
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) restricts telemarketing calls and the use of automatic telephone dialing systems and prerecorded voice messages. Under the TCPA, sending text messages or autodialed calls to cell phones requires previous consent from the recipient. The TCPA also governs calls and texts to land lines of residences and businesses.
Running afoul of this law can get you in trouble with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and subjects you to private penalties of $500 to $1,500 per call/message. Private penalties are typically sought via a class action lawsuit, alleging millions of dollars of damages on behalf of class members.
To satisfy the TCPA, a consumer must give express written consent and receive “clear and conspicuous disclosure” that the consumer will receive future calls that deliver prerecorded or autodialed telemarketing messages by or on behalf of the business. Here is an example provision to include in your contract (including email consent):
Consent to Telephone and Email Contact. Customer expressly authorizes [Alarm Company] to contact Customer using an automated calling device, text, or email to deliver a message to set/confirm a service/installation appointment, notify of alarm alerts, for marketing related purposes or other updates at the telephone number(s) or email address shown above (in addition to those currently on file with [Alarm Company]).