Late last week, Lyft and First National Bank (FNB) were notified by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that they had violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) when they required users to opt in to receiving automated text messages as a condition of using their services. Specifically, Lyft requires users to receive text messages and other marketing communications in order to use the service, and if they try to opt out, it “made it impossible to use Lyft’s services” according to the FCC.

Similarly, FNB forces users to receive marketing text messages to participate in its online banking program and its Apple Pay service and does not give users the ability to opt out.

According to the FCC, the TCPA does not allow companies to condition the use of a good or service on consent and “consumers have the right to choose whether they want marketing calls and texts to their cell phones” and the FCC further stated that it “urges any company that unlawfully conditions its service on consent to unwanted marketing calls and texts to act swiftly to changes it policies.”

Following the FCC citation, Lyft promptly revised its terms of service and frequently asked questions to provide users’ specific instructions on how to unsubscribe from marketing text messages. Lyft denied that it was sending unwanted communications to its users.

Strong message to all companies: review your opt-in consent procedures for TCPA compliance and update your policies accordingly.