Very popular with marketing experts, commercial SMS is an increasingly supervised practice by French law and operates according to well established rules. Moreover, since the beginning of this year, new changes have been put in place to fight against fraud and the countless abusive requests.

According to ARCEP, commercial canvassing is no longer authorized since the numbers start with 06 or 07. Let’s look in more detail on this decision and the new rules to follow.

Reminder: What is a commercial SMS?

The SMS commercial consists in sending messages to individuals for commercial purposes. It can be information relating to promotions, new products or services, an invitation to an event, etc. To send an SMS of this nature, it is essential to have obtained the prior consent of the recipients.

Here is a brief overview of commercial SMS rules:

  • Obtain the authorization of recipients beforehand;
  • Specify your sender identity clearly;
  • Allow each recipient to be able to unsubscribe (opt-out);
  • Do not send a message between 8 p.m. and 10 a.m., as well as Sunday and holidays;
  • Do not exceed 160 characters.

commercial sms

The new regulations relating to commercial SMS

Since January 1, 2023, the commercial canvassing platforms have no longer the right to contact individuals from a number starting with a “06” or a “07“. Indeed, for most people, these two numbers are directly associated with classic mobile phones for interpersonal communications. Consumers are therefore less suspicious when they see them appearing on their screens, and responds most of the time.

From now on, these same platforms will have to use a new type of number called “versatile“, specifically created for sending commercial SMS, thus offering better readability to subscribers.

According to the new numbering plan set up by Acerp (regulatory authority for electronic communications, posts and distribution of the press), the numbers used for commercial SMS must now start with :

  • 0162, 0163, 0270, 0271, 0377, 0378, 0424, 0425, 0568, 0569, 0948, 0949 for metropolitan France
  • 09475 for Guadeloupe, St-Martin and St-Barthélemy
  • 09476 for Guyana
  • 09477 for Martinique
  • 09478, 09479 for Reunion and Mayotte

Objective: to protect consumers and limit unsolicited calls

The purpose of this measure is to reinforce user protection which are increasingly assaulted by unlined, even fraudulent messages and calls.

In addition to these new telephone numbers, another measure will be added, aimed at limiting hours as well as the frequency of canvassing. As of March 1, 2023, commercial SMS and calls of the same type will only be authorized from Monday to Friday, between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., then between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. They will also be prohibited on Saturday, Sunday, as well as on public holidays.

Finally, a professional will no longer be able to contact the same person by phone more than 4 times over a 30 day period. Note that if the contacted person verbally expresses his refusal to be shot during the conversation, he must not be contacted before a period of 60 days from the said refusal. This last point will make it possible to put an end to certain abusive practices of telephone harassment.

What are the risks incurred in the event of non-compliance with these new measures?

The violation of this new regulations set out the sales organization concerned to sanctions that can go up to €75,000 for natural persons, and up to €375,000 for legal persons (companies).


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