SMS Content Compliance
    • 22 Dec 2023
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    SMS Content Compliance

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    Article Summary

    Mobile carriers enforce compliance with telecommunication regulation guidelines (such as TCPA and CTIA)  to maintain a safe standard for US text messaging. When messages don't comply with these guidelines, carriers will block them and charge non-compliance fees.

    Even if your SMS Campaign is approved, your messages must adhere to the carrier content standards. 

    Let’s dive into the details. 

    Who does this apply to?
    All Dialpad users sending SMS messages from US numbers.

    Prohibited content

    Messages containing certain content create a high volume of consumer complaints, causing different use cases to be banned and leading to the removal of blocked traffic for US A2P messaging, regardless of opt-in status.

    Having any of the below use cases in your outbound messages can lead to that number being blocked and/or your account suspended, as well as costly non-compliance fees. 

    High-Risk Financial Services

    • Payday Loans 

    • Short Term- High Interest Loans 

    • Auto Loans 

    • Mortgage Loans 

    • Student Loans 

    • Debt Collection 

    • Gambling/Sweepstakes

    • Stock Alerts 

    • Cryptocurrency 

    Get Rich Quick Schemes

    • Deceptive Work from Home Programs 

    • Risk Investment Opportunities 

    • Multi-Level Marketing 

    Job Postings

    Exceptions are permitted if the message sender is the one doing the hiring.

    Debt Forgiveness 

    • Debt Consolidation 

    • Debt Reduction 

    • Credit Repair Programs 

    Controlled Substances

    • Cannabis, CBD & Hemp Products - Any mention of Cannabis or Marijuana is strictly prohibited

    • All Schedule 1 & 2 drugs 

    • Tobacco and Vape Other disallowed use cases 


    • Phishing 

    • Pornography 

    • Profanity or Hate Speech 

    • Fraud or Scam 

    • Deceptive Marketing 

    • Lead Generation (All Affiliate Marketing must be carrier approved) 

    • Referral or Reseller Campaigns 


    Sex, Hate, Alcohol, Firearms, or Tobacco related content

    Non-compliance fees

    Mobile carriers enforce non-compliance fees for messages that violate their messaging policies. 

    A Severity Zero (Sev-0) violation represents the most harmful non-compliance violation to consumers and is the highest level of escalation with which a carrier will engage with Dialpad. This applies across all products (SMS or MMS, Short Code, Toll-Free, and 10DLC) using a mobile carrier network.

    There are three tiers of Sev-0 violations, billed for every offense. 

    • Tier 1: $2,000 USD, for phishing, smishing, and social engineering.
      • Social Engineering is when users are manipulated into sharing private information such as credit card or social security numbers.
    • Tier 2: $1,000 USD, for illegal content (must be legal in all 50 states and federally).
      • Illegal content includes, but is not limited to, Cannabis, Marijuana, CBD, Illegal Prescriptions and Solicitation.
    • Tier 3: $500 USD, for all other violations including but not limited to SHAFT.
      • Please review the T-Mobile Code of Conduct Section 5.2 for a list of all prohibited content.

    Frequently asked questions 

    How will I know if we receive a non-compliance fee? 

    If a message violates content guidelines and results in a Sev-0 fee, you will be notified via email.

    If this happens, you must modify your messaging content immediately. If traffic continues to receive Sev-0 violations, carriers maintain the right to suspend a brand and block SMS traffic.

    How can I ensure we’re not fined a non-compliance fee?

    First things first, make sure your organization is registered to send messages from US phone numbers.

    Next, ensure that all your team members understand the messaging and use case guidelines so that your content is compliant. 

    Remember the 4 key details:

    1. Register your campaign
      1. All messaging traffic must be registered to ensure a smooth delivery. Unregistered traffic is at a high risk of being blocked at the Carrier or Provider level, which could result in Carrier fees or fines being imposed.
    2. Consent
      1. You must collect consent from your recipients 
      2. This opt-in, or consent, can’t be shared, sold/bought, or transferred.
    3. Identify message senders
      1. The sender of a message must be clearly identified
    4. Quality content
      1. Ensure your SMS content does not contain prohibited content.
      2. Be sure to review our Best Practices Guide.

    How do I pay a non-compliance fee?

    Non-compliance fees will be added to your Dialpad invoice. 

    Is this a Dialpad fee?

    No. Sev-0 fees are charged by T-Mobile and billed through Dialpad as your provider. 

    What if I don't think the non-compliance fee is false?

    At the moment, non-compliance fees are reserved for sms/mms traffic that is clearly in violation of SHAFT. Valid non-compliance violation does not have an appeal process. 

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