We are not comfortable telling anyone that any texts are okay within SMS compliance because the stakes are too high to get it wrong. In all cases, we strongly suggest that before a company begins sending text messages to their customers that they consult with a qualified TCPA lawyer. That being said, there are some classic examples:
Schools send out texts all the time; however, depending on the use case, they also may need approval or consent. For instance, a message saying that the school is closing early because of bad weather is definitely an example of a text that would be allowed. A message about the school having a fundraiser and the children are bringing home a flyer is probably an example where an opt-in would be required.
Shipping companies send out a text to their customers to alert them of package delivery. This is only considered legal because we have opted in on the terms and conditions. However, when they start to send promotional advertisements, that would not be covered with implied consent.
We have all received texts about our prescriptions being ready or informing us where we are in a queue at the doctor’s office. Again these need to be sent only after the company has received consent to text.
These can include natural disasters, Amber alerts, those types of things. These are all considered legal.
Implied consent roughly means that if someone has a business relationship with a customer and the customer willingly gave the business their telephone number; by giving them their cell number, they are consenting to communications about the information that is important to the customer.
For instance: an auto dealer. If a customer gave the service counter their cell number, it's okay to text them and say that their car is ready for pickup. It is not okay to say, “we've got $29.99 oil changes,” or “buy three tires and get one free,” unless there has been some sort of double opt-in.
When in doubt, the important thing to remember with text messaging is that the same guidelines that apply to a phone call, apply to a text. Because of the steep fines for violations, if you’re uncertain about a text message that you want to send, consult with a TCPA attorney for clarification so that you can send with peace of mind.