Text Message Compliance (10DLC) regulations and guidelines

10DLC refers to a new set of rules set and regulated by The Campaign Registry (TCR), regarding text messages sent from businesses to individuals. With 10DLC, carriers are transitioning to a consent-based approach to text messages that expands on the existing Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) guidelines. The basis of this approach is that businesses should only send text messages to people who have consented to communication.

Getting started

In this article, we’ll cover best practices for text messaging and outline the 10DLC rules you need to be aware of and follow in order to register your business with TCR, to stay in good standing, and maintain outbound texting permissions. 

If you have questions about the registration process, click here.

Text messaging regulations and best practices

Please be sure to read and adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Only messages to people who have consented to contact.
    • Consent cannot be bought, sold, or traded. It must be obtained directly from the recipient. Purchasing or otherwise obtaining a list from a third party is prohibited.
    • Be prepared to provide proof of consent if requested.
    • Recipients must opt-in to text messaging specifically, not just by providing their mobile number.
      • You can reply to inbound texts to gain consent for future messages.

    • Explicit consent is required to reach out with promotional material when no inbound inquiry is documented. The recipient must have opted-in to receiving your messages in some written form, such as checking a box on a form. A prior relationship alone does not constitute opt-in consent.

    • Public activity not directed specifically to you does not constitute consent. For example, if someone lists a house for sale, it does not mean they have consented to you contacting them via text.
  • Allow people to opt-out, and explain how to use opt-in and opt-out keywords.
    • Messages such as “STOP” and “UNSUBSCRIBE” must be honored, but any reasonably interpreted request should be considered an opt-out request.
    • Adding “STOP2END” to your message is a short and well-understood instruction for opting-out.
  • Sending text messages - Your first message to a customer should include the following.
    • Identify your business - make sure your recipients know who is texting them.
    • State message frequency - let recipients know how many texts they may receive in a given time period.
    • Fees - provide information on whether or not the recipient may be required to pay for the text messages in accordance with their mobile phone plan.
    • Offer - confirm any type of offer you made as part of text message sign up.
    • Opt out - let recipients know how they can opt out of receiving text messages going forward.
  • Don’t message people on a Do Not Call registry.
  • Have an official web presence.
    • TCR evaluates the website provided for your business to confirm that it is a valid, legal business. Your business website must be an active, publicly reachable URL. If your website contains any reference to alcohol or other legal adult topics, it must require visitors to enter their birthdate to confirm they are of legal age.
  • Don’t perpetuate scams or any illegal activity.
  • Don’t violate content policies.
    • Content related to SHAFT (Sex, Hate, Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco) topics is prohibited.
    • Content related to real estate is allowed, but tends to receive higher scrutiny by carriers due to a high rate of complaints. Please be certain messages related to this topic comply with the consent requirements above.

Regulations and content policies

Based on carrier policies, there is some content you are prohibited from sending via our tracking numbers. 

  • Spam, phishing, SHAFT (Sex, Hate, Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco), and marijuana content are prohibited.
    • Content related to marijuana is prohibited, even within jurisdictions where it has been legalized for recreational or medical use. The carriers have specific rules banning this topic because it is still illegal under US federal law.
  • Anything illegal in the jurisdiction where the message recipient lives. 
  • Hate speech, harassment, exploitative, abusive, or any communications originating from a hate group.
  • Fraudulent messages.
  • Malicious content, such as malware or viruses.
  • Any content intentionally designed to evade filters.
  • Message program evasion recycling numbers to avoid detection.
    • Constantly sending spam and then changing IPs and numbers to avoid detection.

10DLC messaging restrictions forbid content across these categories (SHAFT, harassment, illegal substances, etc.). Some businesses may receive a rejection error that they are ineligible for resubmission due to these restrictions. You can learn more about these categories and errors on the Twilio campaign rejection error page. If you receive one of these rejection errors and believe the decision to be in error and would like to appeal the decision from Twilio and TCR,  please submit a ticket to our Support team.

All consent implied by a prior relationship or obtained via opt-in is only allowable within a reasonable timeframe.

The best way to stay compliant is to ensure your traffic aligns with Twilio’s Messaging Policy and T-Mobile’s Code of Conduct. You can also refer to CTIA’s Best Practices documentation and adopt industry standards into your operations and/or services.

For more information on messaging best practices, see Twilio’s US SMS guidelines and help article on forbidden messaging use cases.

How we handle violations

10DLC is an industry-wide regulation. If you violate these guidelines and receive complaints, the carriers may block your texts and contact TCR to suspend your campaign. If that happens, you will be unable to send messages from your account. In such an event, CallRail will have limited ability to expedite reinstatement. 

The account administrator(s) will receive a notice from CallRail explaining any complaints and what will happen. You will be notified if there is a possibility of remediation or if any fines will be levied.

Your ability to text may be removed or your account suspended while the investigation is underway. Our carriers and CallRail ultimately determine texting ability. We reserve the right to deny this service.

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