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FOS Blog

05 Oct

Using Robo-Calling and Robo-Texting for Marketing? Make Sure You’re Offering a Way Out!

Using Robo-Calling and Robo-Texting for Marketing?  Make Sure You’re Offering a Way Out!

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) may have been one of the lesser known or discussed regulations until taking center stage over the summer since the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) doled out a citation against First National Bank and offered some strongly worded recommendations to PayPal regarding their robo-practices.  If you’ve ever received an automated call just as you sit down to dinner or a barrage of text messages about the next great discount while you’re trying to finish that crucial stage of Angry Birds, you already know the definition of robo-marketing.  But, did you provide your written consent to the entity on the other end?  The TCPA requires entities, including financial institutions, using robo-calling or robo-texting for marketing purposes to obtain written consent from the customer and a method for opting out.  The sole exception, as of October 2014, for financial institutions is the use of automated calls and text messages to alert customers regarding potential account fraud.

The FCC reached out to PayPal in the beginning of June to voice their concern regarding PayPal’s policy requiring customers to agree to accept robo-texts and robo-calls in order to use PayPal’s services.  By the end of June, PayPal retracted the requirement, revised the language in their Terms, and assured customers their written consent must be obtained in order for the company to use robo-means to market.  In mid-September, the FCC targeted First National Bank’s robo-marketing practices, citing the institution’s policy of requiring customers using online banking or Apple Pay bank cards to consent to receiving automated calls and text messages for marketing, or the services could not be used.  The citation stated the bank “violated the law by infringing consumers’ rights to be free from unauthorized marketing calls.”  Although First National Bank has 30 days to rethink the policy, or face penalties, the FCC’s citation serves as a great opportunity for your financial institution to dust off the marketing policy, procedures, and disclosures to make sure you’ve:

  • Refrained from conditioning the use of products and services on the customers’ forced consent to receive automated calls and text messages
  • Obtained written consent from your customers prior to your institution’s initiation of this marketing tool
  • Provided customers with a clear and conspicuous path for opting out of robo-marketing and disclosed this path to the customers, ensuring they know they may opt-out initially or even after consent
  • Used automated calls and text messages performed without written consent solely for fraud alerts

Check off those points to ensure your financial institution is in compliance with the TCPA regarding your use of robo-calls and robo-texting.  And, if you still aren’t sure, reference the First National Bank citation at or the FCC’s recent guidance regarding regulations at

For additional information regarding the article contact the author Julie J. Mixtacki at