There are changes to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) that went into effect on October 16th, 2013.
In a nutshell, beginning October 16th, 2013 and with limited exceptions, express prior written consent will be required for all auto-dialled and/or pre-recorded marketing calls and/or texts sent to cell phones and pre-recorded calls made to landlines.
Additionally, telemarketers can no longer rely on previous business relationships with customers to get around the prior written consent requirement.
The FCC states that new changes do not affect current requirements for automated prerecorded messages that are non-telemarketing, informational calls/texts such as appointment reminders. Such calls/texts continue to require some form of prior express consent including oral consent if placed to a cell phone number.
… while we revise our consent rules to require prior written consent for autodialed or prerecorded telemarketing calls, we maintain the existing consent rules for non-telemarketing, informational calls, such as those by or on behalf of tax-exempt non-profit organizations, calls for political purposes, and calls for other noncommercial purposes, including those that deliver purely informational messages such as school closings. Our rules for these calls will continue to permit oral consent if made to wireless consumers and other specified recipients, and will continue to require no prior consent if made to residential wireline consumers
For more information please follow this link to FCC web site.
While we cannot provide legal advise, FCC language clearly states that only a patient's oral consent is required for appointment automatic reminders to cell phones.
Please note that each state may have different laws regarding prerecorded messages and text reminders. Here is the list of State Laws regarding prerecorded telephone messages. If you believe you may be affected, you should consult with an attorney.
To play it safe, and as a courtesy to their patients, dental offices may start getting express written consent to appointment reminders when you collect patient’s contact information.