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Privacy & Security - Messaging Policy

Everyone expects that the messages they want to receive will reach them unhindered by filtering or other blockers. An important step that OwnerRez customers can take to make that expectation a reality is to prevent and eliminate unwanted messages. Towards that end, we desire to work with our customers so that messages are sent with the consent of the message recipient and that those messages comply with applicable laws, communications industry guidelines or standards, and measures of fairness and decency.

Beyond desires and good intentions, OwnerRez is contractually and legally obligated to operate within certain requirements by our messaging partners and carriers. This Messaging Policy strives to clarify those requirements so our customers operate under the same guidelines.

OwnerRez treats all messaging transmitted via OwnerRez's platform - regardless of medium (e.g., email or SMS), delivery method, use case, or type (e.g., personal or business) - as Application-to-Person (A2P) messaging. All A2P messages originating from OwnerRez are subject to this Messaging Policy, which covers rules and prohibitions regarding:

This policy applies to all customers who use OwnerRez's messaging channels and all forms of messaging, including:

  • Email
  • SMS
  • Airbnb platform
  • Vrbo platform
  • Booking.com platform

If you provide your guests or clients with the ability to send messages through OwnerRez or use integrated services (e.g., a partner messaging app that integrates with OwnerRez), you are responsible for the messaging activity of those integrated services. You must ensure that any messaging activity generated by your integrated services complies with OwnerRez policies.

Consent / Opt-in

Proper Consent

Consent can't be bought, sold, or exchanged. For example, you can't obtain the consent of message recipients by purchasing an email address list or phone list from another party.

Aside from two exceptions noted later in this section, you must meet each of the consent requirements listed below. If you are a third-party app or integrated partner using OwnerRez's platform for messaging, you must require your users to adhere to these same requirements when dealing with their customers, guests, and contacts.

Consent Requirements
  • Prior to sending the first message, you must obtain agreement from the message recipient to communicate with them - this is referred to as "consent."  You must make it clear to the individual that they agree to receive messages of the type you will send. You need to keep a record of the consent, such as a copy of the document, form the message recipient signed or a timestamp of when the customer completed a sign-up flow.
  • Suppose you do not send an initial message to that individual within a reasonable period after receiving consent (or as set forth by local regulations or best practices). In that case, you must reconfirm consent in the first message you send to that recipient.
  • The consent applies only to you and to the specific use, business operation, or campaign to which the recipient has consented. You can't treat it as blanket consent allowing you to send messages from other brands or companies you may own or additional messages about other marketing campaigns you may create in the future.
  • Proof of opt-in consent should be retained as set forth by local regulations or best practices after the end user opts out of receiving messages.

Alternative Consent Requirements

While consent is always required, and the consent requirements noted above are generally the safest path, there are two scenarios where consent can be received differently.

Contact initiated by an individual

If an individual sends a message to you, you are free to respond in an exchange with that individual. For example, if an individual texts your phone number asking for your hours of operation, you can respond directly to that individual, relaying your open hours. In such a case, the individual's inbound message to you constitutes both consent and proof of consent. Remember that the consent is limited only to that particular conversation or business operation. Unless you obtain additional consent, don't send messages outside that business operation, such as a new marketing campaign a year later.

Informational content to an individual based on a prior relationship

You may send a message to an individual with whom you have a prior relationship, provided that individual provided their phone number to you, has taken some action to trigger the potential communication, and has not expressed a preference to not receive messages from you. Actions can include a button press, alert setup, making an appointment, sending an inquiry, requesting a quote, booking a property, etc. Examples of acceptable messages in these scenarios include appointment reminders, payment receipts, one-time passwords, inquiry responses, quote responses, booking confirmations, welcome packets, maintenance reach-outs, or hospitality staff confirming any of the above.

The message can't attempt to promote a separate service or product, advocate for a social cause, or be forwarded to third-party services.

Channel messaging exception

It should be noted that these consent requirements are directed explicitly towards email and SMS types of communication.  Channel messages (eg. messages sent and received via Airbnb, Vrbo, and Booking.com) operate on platforms that have already obtained consent from the recipient by nature of their operations.  Channel platforms also notify their recipients that messaging will be shared with their hosts and PMs (ie. you) so it is assumed that in order to complete the booking operation, messages have to travel outside the channel platform.  Therefore, you do not need to ask a channel recipient for consent since it is implied.

Periodic Messages and Ongoing Consent

If you intend to send messages to a recipient on an ongoing basis or for any marketing-type purpose, you should confirm the recipient's consent by offering them a clear reminder of how to unsubscribe from those messages using standard opt-out language and options. You must also respect the message recipient's preferences in terms of frequency of contact. You also need to proactively ask individuals to reconfirm their consent as set forth by local regulations and best practices if it's been a long time since you've sent a previous message.

Revocation of Consent / Opt-out

Any messages you send to an individual need to include language telling them why they are getting the message, if not obvious, and, if marketing in nature, include unsubscribe options. An example of an obvious message is a payment receipt immediately after a guest has made a payment for their booking.

Individuals must be able to revoke consent at any time by replying to you or clicking unsubscribe options. When an individual opts out, you should notify them or clarify that the messages they receive are transactional and based on business needs and operations.

Identifying Yourself as the Sender

Every message you send should clearly identify you (the party that obtained the opt-in from the recipient) as the sender, except in follow-up messages of an ongoing conversation where the replies are frequent and small in nature. Examples of ongoing conversations are SMS and email threads with a back-and-forth conversation between you and the recipient.

Clear identification means a proper name, brand name, brand logo, and/or domain name representing you as a person or business to the world. It should be simple for the recipient to find your business online or via a booking channel (e.g., Airbnb) based on the sender's identification in your messaging.

Usage Limitations

Content We Do Not Allow

The key to ensuring that messaging remains an excellent channel for communication and innovation is preventing abusive use of messaging platforms. That means we never allow some types of content on our platform, even if our customers get consent from recipients for that content.

Our Acceptable Use Policy already prohibits sending any content that is illegal, harmful, unwanted, inappropriate, objectionable, confirmed to be criminal misinformation, or otherwise poses a threat to the public, even if the content is legally permissible.

This Messaging Policy also prohibits the following content:

  • Anything illegal in the jurisdiction where the message recipient lives. Examples include, but are not limited to:
    • Cannabis. Messages related to Cannabis are not allowed in the United States as federal laws prohibit its sale, even though some states have legalized it. Similarly, CBD-related messages are not permissible in the United States, as certain states prohibit its sale. OwnerRez defines a cannabis message as any message that relates to the marketing or sale of a cannabis product, regardless of whether or not those messages explicitly contain cannabis terms, images, or links to cannabis websites.
    • Prescription Medication. Offers for prescription medication that cannot legally be sold over-the-counter are prohibited in the United States.
  • Hate speech, harassment, exploitative, abusive, or any communication that originates from a hate group
  • Fraudulent messages
  • Malicious content, such as malware or viruses
  • Any Forbidden SMS Message Categories
  • Any content that is designed to evade filters (see below) intentionally

Please note that some of the above restrictions (e.g., Cannabis) were created by the telecommunication carriers that deliver our messages and are not restrictions created by OwnerRez. However, because we use their networks, we are required to follow them. You may disagree with these restrictions - and so might we - but we cannot change them.

Country-Specific Rules

All messages should comply with the rules applicable to the country in which the message recipient lives.

Age and Geographic Gating

If you are sending messages in any way related to alcohol, firearms, gambling, tobacco, or other adult content, then more restrictions apply. In addition to obtaining consent from every message recipient, you must ensure that no message recipient is younger than the legal age of consent based on where the recipient is located. You also must ensure that the message content complies with all applicable laws of the jurisdiction in which the message recipient is located or applicable communications industry guidelines or standards.

You need to be able to provide proof that you have in place measures to ensure compliance with these restrictions. Otherwise, it is also best to avoid sending this type of message content.

Violation Detection and Prevention Evasion

Customers may not use OwnerRez's messaging platform to evade unwanted messaging detection and prevention mechanisms on OwnerRez or one of OwnerRez's channel or telecommunications partners. Subject to the OwnerRez Privacy Policy, OwnerRez collects and monitors all messages transmitted via OwnerRez's platform to detect spam, fraudulent activity, and violations of our Acceptable Use Policy.

Examples of prohibited practices include:

  • Content designed to evade detection. As noted above, we do not allow content specifically designed to evade detection by unwanted messaging detection and prevention mechanisms. This includes intentionally misspelled words or non-standard opt-out phrases that have been specifically created with the intent to evade these mechanisms.
  • Snowshoeing. We do not permit snowshoeing, which is defined as spreading similar or identical messages across many phone numbers with the intent or effect of evading unwanted messaging detection and prevention mechanisms.
  • Simulated social engineering attacks. You are prohibited from transmitting messages that are used for security testing, including simulated phishing and other activities that may resemble social engineering or similar attacks.
  • Other practices identified and prohibited by this policy and our Acceptable Use Policy.

How We Handle Violations

When we identify a violation of these principles, where possible, we will work with users in good faith to get them back into compliance with this policy. However, to protect the continued ability of all our customers to use messaging for legitimate purposes freely, we reserve the right to suspend or remove access to OwnerRez's platform for users, or users' guests and partners, that we determine are not complying with the Messaging Policy, or who are not following the law in any applicable area or applicable communications industry guidelines or standards, in some instances with limited notice in the case of serious violations of this policy.

U.S. telecommunications providers may assess fees for non-compliant SMS traffic, and OwnerRez will pass these fees on to you. To date, T-Mobile is the first U.S. telecommunications provider to announce non-compliance fees for violations of T-Mobile's Code of Conduct. OwnerRez will update these guidelines accordingly if/when additional U.S. telecommunications providers announce non-compliance fees.

T-Mobile non-compliance fees are as follows:

  • 10DLC Long Code Messaging Program Evasion: A $1,000 pass-through fee if a customer program/campaign is found to be using techniques such as snowshoeing or unauthorized number replacement/recycling.
  • Content Violation: After a prior warning, a $10,000 pass-through fee may be imposed for each unique instance of content violating the T-Mobile Code of Conduct involving the same sender/content provider. This includes SHAFT (Sex, Hate, Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco) violations, spam, phishing, and messaging that meets the Severity 0 violation as defined in the CTIA Short Code Monitoring Handbook.

Any fines or fees assessed to OwnerRez for a particular user's activity will be passed along to that user for immediate payment. That user's messaging may be locked or suspended. This includes other telecommunication carriers that may assess fines or fees, even if they are not explicitly enumerated in this Messaging Policy.