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SMS and Email Compliance Laws

With great power comes great responsibility.

We want our users and recipients of their mailings to know the following as the back of their own hand:

1. Which content is safe to send;

2. Which contact methods are safe to use and which are prohibited by law;

3. Rules, principles, and consequences of text messaging;

4. How to create lawful and interesting messages.

And we're ready to help! This article will be useful for anyone who sends SMS and emails in ManyChat, especially those who are just starting to engage in text marketing. Below you'll find a detailed description of how to successfully use ManyChat for your SMS and email campaigns and ensure compliance with applicable laws.

The laws concerning text messages of any kind vary from country to country, and the laws described in this article are relevant only to the United States and Canada.
If your business is located in another country, or you have customers in other countries, you must make sure that you comply with all applicable laws and legal requirements for mailing lists in the countries where you do business.  

ManyChat prioritizes compliance with laws in the design and offering of its products. As a user, you are responsible for your use of ManyChat’s products and your compliance with the laws and regulations applicable to your business and ManyChat’s Terms of Service  https://manychat.com/tos.html.

The information provided here does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this article are for general informational purposes only.

To avoid sending spam you should obtain consent from your customer before sending SMS and/or email.

1. For the US. Under the TCPA, a business must collect and retain the affirmative consent of the customer to send SMS messages for a commercial purpose and provide a method for opting out. To do this, you must disclose that the consent is for commercial messages, and the consumer must affirmatively respond.  

2. For Canada. Under the CASL, a business must also obtain consent to send any electronic message, provide certain disclosures about the business and provide a method for opting out.
The necessary disclosures include:
1. Purpose of the consent;
2. Name of the entity seeking consent;
3. Mailing address for the entity seeking consent;
4. Email address,
5. Web address or telephone for the entity seeking consent;
6. A statement that the consent can be withdrawn.

Tips for obtaining consent: 

  • Always get written consent to send SMS/Email via opt-in. Even if the user registered on your site and left their phone number/email in the registration form, you still need to ensure that appropriate disclosures were made and the consent form complies with the law.
  • Always provide an opportunity to unsubscribe in the easiest and most understandable way and tell your subscribers about it. For example, a subscriber can click UNSUBSCRIBE or send STOP.
  • Always include the name of your business in a message.
  • Only provide content that is valuable to subscribers: discount coupons, shipping/delivery statuses, booking information, useful tips, and tricks.
  • Do not use a misleading title or text. Be specific and correct.
  • Provide recipients with your email address or phone number, website or physical store address, and zip code.
  • Keep track of what mailings are being sent on your behalf, for example, if you have a marketing agency working for you. Both parties are legally responsible for all content sent to users. 
  • Enumerate on your site all the terms and conditions about your mailings and what exactly your business does. 

Remember, it is entirely your responsibility to get the users’ consent to mailings.

Please note: you confirm that you have obtained appropriate consent every time when you create/ import new contacts in ManyChat.

If you add a new contact to ManyChat, make sure that all your customers have agreed to receive SMS/Email from you.

If you add a list of numbers to ManyChat using import, make sure that all of your customers agreed to receive SMS/Emails from you.

How to get consent in ManyChat?

  • Use the opt-in flow in Messenger.
    If you are gathering contacts for mailings in Facebook you may use our flow to get phone numbers with consent: https://manychat.com/flowPlayerPage?share_hash=104737397559805_dcd6e717cd211ecacd5738826582c9e808cc052f
  • Use a mobile growth tool for your website.
  • Remember, your customers should be able to easily unsubscribe from your texts in the most obvious way: for example, by sending the word STOP in response to SMS and, if you are sending emails, by clicking the Unsubscribe button in the email.
    If a customer has made an opt-out, you should unsubscribe the customer Immediately from mailings. In ManyChat, if someone writes STOP, they will automatically unsubscribe from SMS/email mailings. You should maintain the individual on your permanent "do not contact" list unless they later provide consent again.
  • What type of content can/cannot be sent in messages?
    You can send the status of sending and delivery of goods, verification code for the site/service/application as well as discount coupons, gift certificates, and booking confirmation.
    If you are going to send messages related to alcohol and tobacco or other restricted products, it is your responsibility to ensure that you are in compliance with regulations regarding the legal age and other requirements for marketing such products in compliance with the law.
  • What are the Terms of Service?
    You should use terms of service or some other contractual mechanism governing the relationship with your customer. You can include information in your terms and service regarding the use of SMS and emails, however, you must obtain affirmative consent with the appropriate disclosures for SMS and emails, so burying it in your terms and conditions would not satisfy your compliance obligations.

Note:  we cannot offer legal service (and our resources should not be interpreted or replaced by legal consulting). 

References to laws intended to protect the privacy and personal data of consumers in Canada:

1. Name of the law regulating spam in the U. S – TCPA:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telephone_Consumer_Protection_Act_of_1991

2. The Canadian anti-spam act – CASL:
https://fightspam.gc.ca/eic/site/030.nsf/eng/home

3. Personal data and document protection act – PIPEDA:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_Information_Protection_and_Electronic_Documents_Act