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Stay Ahead of T-Mobile Fines: How OtterText Shields Firearm Businesses Messaging Penalties

You’re already navigating a complex regulatory landscape as a firearm business owner. Now, T-Mobile’s new messaging fines, aligned with TCPA and CTIA guidelines, add another layer to your challenges. 

But don’t worry, OtterText is here to help. We’ll show you how OtterText’s features can keep your business compliant and connected with your customers, safeguarding against these new fines. 

Deciphering T-Mobile’s Messaging Fines

Starting January 1, 2024, T-Mobile’s new policy introduces fines for non-compliant text messages(SMS and MMS Short Codes, Toll-Free Numbers and 10DLC), crucial for firearm businesses:

  1. Tier 1 – High Severity ($2000 per incident): Includes phishing, smishing, and social engineering.
  2. Tier 2 – Moderate Severity ($1000 per incident): Targets content that’s illegal on a state or federal level. Vital for firearm businesses due to varying state gun laws.
  3. Tier 3 – General Violations ($500 per incident): Covers violations like S.H.A.F.T. content (Sex, Hate, Alcohol, Firearms, and Tobacco), which are highly regulated in messaging.

Explaining Key Terms and Violations in T-Mobile’s Policy

Social Engineering 

Social engineering in T-Mobile’s context refers to deceptive techniques for obtaining confidential information. This includes:

  • Phishing (fraudulently posing as a legitimate entity via email)
  • Smishing (similar to phishing, but through SMS)
  • Pretexting (creating a fabricated scenario to obtain information) 

These practices often involve impersonating reputable companies to extract personal data like passwords and credit card numbers.

Understanding “Illegal Content”

Illegal content is anything not legally permitted in all 50 states and federally. As specified in T-Mobile’s Code of Conduct section 5.1, this encompasses a range of issues, including:

  • SPAM
  • Fraudulent or misleading messages
  • Depictions or endorsements of violence
  • Inappropriate content
  • Profanity or hate speech
  • Endorsement of illegal drugs

The policy mandates that all messaging programs comply with federal and state laws and regulations and be appropriate for their intended audience.

All Other Violations

This category, detailed in Subsection 5.7, focuses on age-gating.

T-Mobile requires that messaging programs involving S.H.A.F.T. content like sex, alcohol, firearms, tobacco, or other age-restricted areas must have a robust age verification process. 

Simple yes/no age gates are insufficient. Instead, a more secure method, such as verifying the consumer’s date of birth during the consent opt-in process, is required. This ensures that the content is only accessible to appropriately aged individuals.

How OtterText Navigates New Fines for Firearm Businesses

OtterText offers solutions to address T-Mobile’s new messaging fines:

  1. Implementing Proper Age-Gate: OtterText provides a compliant age-gate mechanism. This goes beyond simple yes/no queries, requiring date of birth verification during the opt-in process, ensuring messages reach the appropriate audience.
  2. 10DLC Registration Support: OtterText guarantees a 100% pass rate for the firearms sector in the 10DLC registration process.
  3. Website Compliance Audit: OtterText offers website audits to ensure full compliance with the new regulations, safeguarding your business against potential fines.

OtterText’s 10DLC Registration Process

Registering your 10DLC with OtterText is straightforward:

  1. Sign Up with OtterText: Create an account to initiate the 10DLC number registration for your business with The Campaign Registry (TCR).
  2. Provide Required Information: During sign-up, provide your business and messaging details, including legal name, address, tax ID, website URL, industry, and the purpose of your 10DLC number.
  3. Special Requirements for Firearms Sellers: Ensure an age gate on your website for compliance, which is crucial for firearms or ammunition businesses. OtterText can assist in this part of the process.
  4. Submission to TCR: OtterText submits your information for review and approval, typically processed quickly.
  5. Start Messaging: Use your 10DLC number for compliant, efficient SMS marketing once approved.

Recommended Resources

To stay compliant, review these essential resources:

FAQ

What are T-Mobile’s new fines for messaging violations starting January 1, 2024?

T-Mobile will implement fines ranging from $500 to $2000 for non-compliant text messages under its new policy.

What constitutes a high-severity violation under T-Mobile’s policy?

High-severity violations (Tier 1) include phishing, smishing, and social engineering, with $2000 per incident fines.

How does T-Mobile’s policy affect messages regarding firearms? 

Messages about firearms fall under Tier 3, which includes S.H.A.F.T. content (Sex, Hate, Alcohol, Firearms, and Tobacco), with a fine of $500 per violation.

Does T-Mobile’s policy affect peer-to-peer messaging? 

No, the policy targets third-party text message providers, not peer-to-peer messaging.

Are there specific requirements for messaging programs involving S.H.A.F.T. content? 

Yes, T-Mobile requires robust age verification processes for messaging involving S.H.A.F.T. content.