Critical SMS Errors You Need to Avoid

Scott Navratil

Get Commio’s SMS texting scorecard to be sure your messages make it to your recipients and avoid carrier spam traps.

Text messaging is wildly popular. Not only is texting convenient, 9 out of 10 are read within 3 minutes, making them a game-changer for SaaS platforms and any businesses who needs to engage with current or potential customers.

The challenge arises when businesses, intentionally or not, break the rules set by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) or CTIA (the wireless communications trade association) and discover that their content is blocked or undelivered by the carriers. These organizations and guidelines were formed for the industry to avoid SMS and MMS channels being overwhelmed with inappropriate, illegal, or spammy content.

Learn more about our Messaging API platform, including long code, short code, toll-free messaging, supported message sizes, and more in our Knowledge Base.

How do I prevent my messages from being filtered?

Start with your privacy policy. The carriers and upstream providers will check this on your website. Here are sample mobile terms and conditions for educational and reference purposes only:

SAMPLE MOBILE TERMS AND CONDITIONS. You give permission for xxxxx to send to your provided cell number periodic texts regarding requests for your services or other important updates from the company. You also state that you are the rightful owner of the cell phone number provided. Text Alerts are enabled by xxxxxx.

There are no premium charges, however, standard carrier Msg&Data rates may apply. Text STOP any time to quit. This product is not compatible with all phone models or carriers. You must be 18 or older or have permission from a parent or guardian to participate. Text HELP for help. T-Mobile is not responsible for undelivered messages. Carriers are not liable for delayed or undelivered messages.

Finally, you agree to update xxxxxx (by replying STOP or calling customer service) prior to abandoning your ownership of the provided cell phone number. Carriers Supported AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile®, Verizon Wireless, Virgin Mobile USA, U.S. Cellular®, Metro PCS, ACS Wireless, All West Wireless, Bluegrass, Boost USA, Cambridge Telecom, Cellcom, Cellular South, Centennial, Cricket Communications, Cellular One of East Central Illinois, Appalachian Wireless, Mutual Telephone Company, General Communications, Golden State Cellular, PC Management, Inland Cellular, Illinois Valley Cellular, Nex-Tech Wireless, Nucla-Naturita, nTelos, Revol, Silver Star PCS (Gold Star), Snake River PCS, South Central, Syringa, Thumb Cellular, UBET Wireless, Unicel, United Wireless, and West Central Wireless.

Note: Express consent is required for SMS; therefore, sharing data is prohibited. Privacy policies must specify that this data sharing excludes SMS opt-in data and consent. Privacy policies can be updated (or draft versions provided) where the practice of sharing personal data to third parties is expressly omitted from the SMS program.

Any verbiage on the website that refers to sharing data should include this disclaimer for mobile opt-in:
“The above excludes text messaging originator opt-in data and consent; this information will not be shared with any third parties.”

Here’s a list of live mobile T’s & C’s examples:

Most of you also know about the various long code (10DLC) campaign rules being put into place by the carriers right now; you can read more about that in this blog series. And, here are additional guidelines that will greatly reduce the chances your campaigns are rejected or your messages are filtered by carriers.

  • Only send messages to mobile users who have provided consent (opted in) to receive messages from you.
  • Ensure that your messages clearly identify who is sending the message, and how to opt out (for example, “Reply STOP to unsubscribe”).
  • If you are contacting the same recipients multiple times per month, you do not need to provide opt-out instructions in every message, but you must do it at least once per month.
  • If you are sending messages to users repeatedly over a long period of time, you should check in with your recipients at least once every 18 months to ensure they still want to receive messages from you. The mobile number you are sending messages to may have changed owners, or the recipient may not remember giving consent to receive messages from you.

If you’re sending toll-free messaging, you can also get your numbers white listed. Toll-free doesn’t have the same throughput restrictions as long code because of the new 10DLC requirements, but carriers are now requiring that numbers get whitelisted on any sizable campaign to avoid having messages being blocked. So, approved campaigns on toll-free can increase your daily delivery. To get white listed by Commio, simply request the form from our Customer Success team, fill it out and return it to us. We’ll send it to our toll-free carrier for review.

A+ SMS Scorecard

Be sure your messages score an A to ensure delivery potential and don’t get caught in a carrier’s spam trap. Here’s our A2P (Application to Person) SMS content grading scale, where we provide hands-on examples of messages that fall into each category.

A Messages (Best Delivery)

  • Your Bank: We suspect transaction at Retailer is fraud. Reply YES if this was your charge.
  • Here is your one time password: PW
  • Your appointment with Company is scheduled for 3PM tomorrow. Reply YES to confirm or NO to reschedule.

B Messages

  • Your bill with Company is due. Please make your payment today.

C Messages

  • You haven’t been to Restaurant in a while. Here’s a coupon.

D Messages

  • You were thinking about buying Product, here’s a message about that. Buy now at this link:

F Messages (Worst Delivery)

  • Student loans
  • Debt refinance
  • Mortgage loan
  • Pay day
  • Marijuana / CBD
  • Cam girls
  • Medication
  • Adult / Porn

Sending unwanted traffic could result in blocking your source numbers (DIDs) from being able to send texts. Here are additional guidelines on the types of traffic we recommend and restrict:

Traffic Requirements for A2P: Long code, Toll-free, Short code

  • Notifications
  • Two Way Communications
  • Chatbots
  • Opt-In Appointment Reminders & Customer Scheduling

Marketing Requirements: Long code, Toll-free

  • Opt-in Promotional Traffic
  • Consumer Expectation of Communication

Restricted Categories

  • Adult material
  • Dating
  • Phone Service Solicitations
  • Financial
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Casino & Gaming
  • Fraudulent Intent

With Commio messaging, you can scale your text messaging campaigns or power your reminder or appointments platform using our high-performance API. Whether you already have existing apps for your business or are starting from scratch, our API will help you get the text messaging features and performance you need. Our SMS API is an easy way to integrate messaging solutions into your apps and provide new communications experiences to your end users. Our API integration will equip you with the tools needed to deliver high-volume, commercial-grade SMS, MMS, and toll-free functionality across your apps and phone numbers.

Whether you simply want to integrate SMS, add multimedia messaging into your applications, or experiment with outbound SMS marketing or appointment reminders, our SMS API has got what you need to create an application that will satisfy your users and allow you to communicate via text messages instantly and cost-effectively.

Learn more and get a demo with one of our text messaging experts today.

Date posted: November 18, 2021

Topic: 10DLC Long Code   Messaging   Short Code   Software as a Service (SaaS)   Toll-Free Texting  

Tags: AUP   Commio   MMS   privacy policy   SMS  

Scott Navratil

Scott, a member of our Commio team, has held executive management positions at several top IP communications companies and was named one of Colorado Business Magazine’s most powerful salespeople. He is a regular speaker at national telecom events. Scott holds a B.A. in Meteorology from the University of Northern Colorado. Scott primarily enjoys spending time with his family in Colorado and also enjoys skiing, snowboarding, racing motorcycles, and astronomy.

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