In a decision that should grab the attention of marketers who operate through all media, a federal court has lifted a suspended judgment awarded to the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) against the owner of a text message marketing company.
What led to the lifting of the suspended judgment against the text message marketer?
A judgment in favor of the FTC and entered personally against the owners of a marketing company had previously been awarded in connection with charges of unsolicited text message marketing. The court allowed for suspension of 80% of the judgment’s monetary penalty based upon the owner’s supposed inability to pay. After the FTC uncovered evidence that the individual had concealed assets and misrepresented his financial condition to the court, the FTC triggered an “avalanche” clause contained in the judgment and compelled the owner to stipulate to a requirement that he pay the outstanding 80% within one week.
Best Practices to Avoid Text Message Marketing-Related Liability
The implications of this case are clear: continued compliance with marketing laws, and adherence to agreements with the FTC, are absolutely critical to safeguard marketing ventures and their respective owners. We have blogged extensively about the aggressive enforcement of marketing laws on both a federal and state level, with increasing frequency in the text message marketing space. Text message marketing continues to gain momentum as the mode of communication has evolved into one of the most widely used smartphone features. As this case demonstrates, however, text message marketing campaigns that are not strictly compliant with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) place marketers at significant legal risk. As such, it is most important to work with experienced text message marketing counsel before the launch of any campaign.