Lately it seems that as every week that goes by, we hear of a company facing legal or regulatory action for failing to adhere to the strict compliance guidelines that govern the direct marketing industry. This week a rather unlikely name is in the news for mobile marketing compliance violations: Papa John’s Pizza.
As reported in several publications, Papa John’s is the subject of a class action lawsuit for sending numerous text messages to its customers without getting prior express verifiable consent. Papa John’s was using a third party company to send out the text messages, and it appears they may not have been intricately aware of that company’s methods. While Papa John’s denies fault in the case, many are estimating this could be the largest payout ever for such a violation, as more than 500,000 illegal text messages were sent.
Know your direct marketing partner
So what can companies that utilize direct marketing services take away from this case? First, it is imperative to obtain express verifiable consent before contacting any consumer on their mobile device. But since that is clearly part of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, direct marketing providers should be keenly aware of that fact.
The bigger takeaway is just how important it is to truly know your direct marketing services provider. With the myriad of laws and regulations that govern the industry, no company or organization should allow someone to send out marketing messages on their behalf without total faith that they are crossing every “t” and dotting every “i” when it comes to regulatory compliance, as well as operating in a manner that is ethical to consumers. If they are not, it can create significant liability for a company, even one as large and well-known as Papa John’s; and it can level mountains of good will built over many years.
So before signing on with a direct marketing partner, make sure you do your homework and verify that they not only understand the regulatory environment of the industry, but have systems in place to ensure that all campaigns maintain strict compliance.