SMS Terms of Service Best Practices and Example

Last updated at:


Before you begin collecting SMS consent from your customers, it’s important to update your terms of service so that subscribers know what to expect. This article provides an example of terms of service for a mobile program. The highlighted portions show where you would insert your organization’s information.


Best Practices

Terms of service for an SMS program should contain: 

  • Program name
  • Product description(s)
  • Opt-out instructions
  • Help instructions
  • Customer support contact information (e.g., phone number or email address)
  • Privacy policy or link to privacy policy
  • Key statements and disclosures, such as:
    • “Carriers are not liable for delayed or undelivered messages” 
    • “Message and data rates may apply” 
    • “Message frequency varies,” or statement to set expectations for message frequency 
      • Note: Whenever frequency is approximate, carriers prefer the use of “varies” language
    • “SMS consent is not a condition of purchase”
    • “Texts may be sent using an automatic telephone dialing system” 
  • No language that holds the customer liable if they change their number without opting out 
  • If you use a short code for multiple types of messages (promotional, transactional, etc.), you will need a clear outline of each use case, along with the kinds of messages you send, and a mention of how they are optional programs (i.e., describe the optional process by which users sign up for them)
  • If applicable: language that indicates you plan to send abandoned cart reminders through your short code SMS program

Your terms of service link should be secure and not be blocked by search engines or security software.

Example: Mobile Program Terms of Service

[Insert Brand Name]
Mobile Message Service Terms and Conditions

Last updated: [insert date]

The [insert Brand Name] mobile message service (the "Service") is operated by [insert full Company Name] (“ [insert Company Name] ”, “we”, or “us”). Your use of the Service constitutes your agreement to these terms and conditions (“Mobile Terms”). We may modify or cancel the Service or any of its features without notice. To the extent permitted by applicable law, we may also modify these Mobile Terms at any time and your continued use of the Service following the effective date of any such changes shall constitute your acceptance of such changes.

By consenting to [Company name]’s SMS/text messaging service, you agree to receive recurring SMS/text messages from and on behalf of [Company Name] through your wireless provider to the mobile number you provided, even if your mobile number is registered on any state or federal Do Not Call list. Text messages may be sent using an automatic telephone dialing system or other technology. Service-related messages may include updates, alerts, and information (e.g., order updates, account alerts, etc.). Promotional messages may include promotions, specials, and other marketing offers (e.g., cart reminders).

You understand that you do not have to sign up for this program in order to make any purchases, and your consent is not a condition of any purchase with [Company name]. Your participation in this program is completely voluntary.

We do not charge for the Service, but you are responsible for all charges and fees associated with text messaging imposed by your wireless provider. Message frequency varies. Message and data rates may apply. Check your mobile plan and contact your wireless provider for details. You are solely responsible for all charges related to SMS/text messages, including charges from your wireless provider.

You may opt-out of the Service at any time. [[If sending in the US or Canada] Text the single keyword command STOP to [insert your sending number]. [If sending using an alphanumeric sender ID in the UK or Australia] Click the unsubscribe link in any text message to cancel. ] You'll receive a one-time opt-out confirmation text message. No further messages will be sent to your mobile device, unless initiated by you. If you have subscribed to other [Company Name] mobile message programs and wish to cancel, except where applicable law requires otherwise, you will need to opt out separately from those programs by following the instructions provided in their respective mobile terms. For Service support or assistance, text HELP to [insert your sending number] or email [insert support email address].

We may change any short code or telephone number we use to operate the Service at any time and will notify you of these changes. You acknowledge that any messages, including any STOP or HELP requests, you send to a short code or telephone number we have changed may not be received and we will not be responsible for honoring requests made in such messages.

The wireless carriers supported by the Service are not liable for delayed or undelivered messages. You agree to provide us with a valid mobile number. If you get a new mobile number, you will need to sign up for the program with your new number.

To the extent permitted by applicable law, you agree that we will not be liable for failed, delayed, or misdirected delivery of any information sent through the Service, any errors in such information, and/or any action you may or may not take in reliance on the information or Service.

We respect your right to privacy. To see how we collect and use your personal information, please see our Privacy Notice [LINK to Your Privacy Policy].

Important Notes about This Example

If you are using this example as a base, take note of the following: 

  • If you are NOT using SMS for abandoned cart messages, please remove “(e.g., cart reminders)” from your terms of service
  • You should modify the example based on the countries you plan to send messages in and remove the bracketed language applicable to any countries you won’t be sending in
    • If you are sending in the UK or Australia, remove any language about texting in keywords (e.g., STOP or HELP)
    • If you are not sending in the UK or Australia, remove the language about clicking the unsubscribe link in any text message to cancel)
  • You can modify the language at the end of the second paragraph based on how you plan to leverage SMS (i.e., promotional messages, transactional messages or both) and based on the types of messages you plan to send

Additional Resources

Was this article helpful?
160 out of 182 found this helpful