Bandwidth toll-free verification handbook  

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Luke Thompson

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Effective November 8, 2023, the toll-free messaging aggregator that Bandwidth uses to support toll-free messaging traffic is blocking all restricted (formerly called "unverified") toll-free numbers (TFNs) from sending traffic. Toll-free numbers that are pending verification will begin being blocked effective January 31, 2024. Effective January 31, 2024, only fully verified toll-free numbers will be able to send traffic. 

This article serves as a guide to ensure Bandwidth has the preliminary information needed to process your toll-free verification form. If you're looking for information on how to complete the bulk toll-free verification form, check out our bulk toll-free verification guide.

What is toll-free verification? 

The toll-free verification process qualifies the messaging traffic to be tagged as verified with our downstream peers (not directly with mobile operators). The approved tag reduces the number of false-positive blocks and helps increase the message deliverability on a single TFN. 

Verification is not whitelisting, so approval doesn’t guarantee that the customer won’t experience any blocking. However, as long as the sent traffic aligns with the verification application, this allows us to work with our peers more swiftly in order to share the campaign details with the mobile operator and ask for the blocking to be removed.

Toll-free verification timelines

Upon submission, it can take up to 3-4 weeks to receive the final result of a request. Unlike 10DLC, where most campaigns receive an immediate and automated rating, toll-free verification requests are reviewed manually by the toll-free peer. For batch/bulk submissions, turnaround times may vary.

Several factors may cause a delay in processing:

  • Incomplete or unclear fields
  • Multiple submissions
  • Multiple TFNs on a request

Please make sure to submit detailed, high-quality forms. It’ll help make the process easier to review and approve!

Submitting a toll-free verification brief

Opt-in

Navigating laws and regulations for compliance and consent can be complicated. Consent can mean many things, but in the messaging world, it is the written or verbal confirmation that the message recipient gives to a business to receive text alerts. This is often referred to as opt-in. 

One of the most common rejections received is in part due to not providing sufficient information for the opt-in fields. Section 5.1 of the CTIA Messaging Principles and Best Practices, provides a detailed explanation of the different types of consent needed based on the type of messages being sent. Bandwidth expects all of our customers to collect any required opt-in for their traffic. Below are tips on how to help minimize your chances of receiving a denial when providing opt-in with your submission.  

  • Make sure the opt-in flow is thoroughly detailed by providing step-by-step instructions a user must take to opt-in to the messaging program. 
  • Consumer consent should be collected by the direct (first) party sending the messages. 
  • Ensure there is explicitly stated consent disclaimer language at the time of collection. (ie. when the phone number is collected there should be a disclosure about opting into messaging).
  • If website opt-in: Screenshots of the web form where the client adds a number and agrees to receive messaging.
  • Website posting (support): Where is the number advertised and where does the customer find the number to text?
  • If a keyword or QR Code Opt-in: Where does the customer find the keyword in order to opt-in to these messages? Please provide this material (photos or screenshots) for verification.
  • If Voice/IVR opt-in: In this case please provide a screenshot record of opt-in via voice in the client's database/ CRM. (IE, a check box on their CRM saying that the customer opted in and the date)
  • 2FA/OTP: Please provide a screenshot process to receive the initial text
  • Paper form (Customer/ Employee): Please upload a photo of the form

Note: Consent cannot be acquired from a third party. Third-party opt-in is not supported and is ineligible for verification.

Additionally, if the messaging in question is or includes Marketing/Promotional, then the Marketing/Promotional messaging must be optional to opt-in to achieve verification.

Use one recognizable number

Each message sender (business/entity/organization) should utilize only one primary sending number. Using a single number for messaging is not only a best practice but also a better user experience overall for the consumer!

In the case of a business/entity/organization with multiple locations or franchises, each location or franchise should have its own number. There is to be one number per message sender. Shared numbers (numbers used by multiple businesses) are disallowed and ineligible for verification. 

We understand there are use cases that require more than one sending number. For use cases that have multiple sending numbers, you'll be asked to upload an Excel file with the business name associated with each TFN. For bulk/batch submissions, turnaround times will vary.

Sharing of end-user information

The sharing and selling of end-user information with third parties for marketing purposes violates both Bandwidth's policy and our peers’ messaging policies and is therefore ineligible for verification.

Ineligible use cases

High-Risk Financial Services Get Rich Quick Schemes Debt Forgiveness Illegal Substances/ Activities General

Payday loans

Short-term, high-interest loans

Auto loans

Mortgage loans

Student loans

Gambling

Sweepstakes

Stock alerts

Cryptocurrency

Debt consolidation

Debt reduction

Credit repair programs

Deceptive work-from-home programs

Multi-level marketing

Risk investment opportunities

Debt collection or consolidation

Cannabis

Alcohol

Tobacco or vape

Phishing

Fraud or scams

Deceptive marketing

Pornography

Sex-related content

Profanity or hate speech

Firearms

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are the minimum requirements to get verified?

  • Toll-free number(s)
    • CSV file with TFNs and business names for batch submissions (up to 1000 TNs per bulk file)
  • Verification brief with the required fields completed
  • The use case is not listed on our Ineligible Use Case list
  • The opt-in process is documented/detailed
    • Screenshots and/or URLs are required for marketing use cases
  • Bandwidth and Carrier Best Practices (CTIA guidelines) are being followed

How do I submit a toll-free verification form? 

Click here to submit a verification form. If you would like to submit in bulk, check out our bulk toll-free verification guide.

What are the differences between Verified, Pending, and Restricted numbers?

The toll-free aggregator has created 3 Classes of Service to classify verification status: Verified, Pending Verification, and Restricted.

  • Verified: Verified numbers have gone through the toll-free verification process and were approved. Their traffic is subjected to limited filters. If traffic does trigger any filters that specific content will be blocked but the number will not be automatically blocked.

  • Pending Verification: Pending Verification numbers have submitted a toll-free verification application, and are currently awaiting a response from the aggregator. These numbers will remain in this pending state until a decision has been made on the verification request. Blocking can be applied to individual content or there can be an automatic block of all traffic from the number. Effective January 31, 2024, pending verification TFNs (toll-free numbers) will be blocked from sending traffic. Currently, these numbers are subject to daily, weekly, and monthly volumetric limits listed here:
    • Daily Limit: 2,000 messages
    • Weekly limit: 6,000 messages
    • Monthly limit: 10,000 messages
      • All messages, regardless of being successful or not, will count toward the daily, weekly, and monthly volumes. For example, if a customer sends 10,000 messages on the first of the month, the first 2,000 messages will be allowed to be sent, and the remaining 8,000 messages will be blocked. All 10,000 messages will count toward the weekly and monthly totals.

  • Restricted (Unverified): Restricted numbers have either 1) not submitted a verification request or 2) have had their application denied. These numbers are subject to the highest amount of filtering, and numbers in this state will automatically get shut off if any spam or unwanted traffic is detected. Effective November 8, 2023, the toll-free messaging aggregator that Bandwidth uses to support toll-free messaging traffic is blocking all restricted toll-free numbers (TFNs) from sending traffic.

Why do I keep getting 4795 errors even though I'm sending traffic under the unverified limits? 

This error code is also inclusive of the spam and content blocks on unverified traffic, as well as the alert for reaching the unverified volume threshold. There is strict content filtering for unverified numbers. Unverified numbers are subject to the most strict content filtering and tight volumetric restrictions which won't provide the best delivery rates.

The daily/weekly/monthly thresholds were never meant to be a long-term solution. It was created as a buffer since there is an industry backlog to allow end businesses to still send messaging traffic while they are waiting to move to a "verified" state.

The resolution for either instance of a 4795 block is going to be pursuing and obtaining verification. That's the path forward to resolve the blocking. Please ensure that requests are being submitted for all onboarding customers to secure their place in line for processing. 

If you are experiencing 4795 errors or blocks, click here to submit a verification form for the number. Or, if you would like to submit multiple in bulk, check out our bulk toll-free verification guide.

What are the denial codes and reasons?

Denial code

Reason

501 Content Violation - SHAFT - Sex - Not Eligible for Resubmission
502 Content Violation - SHAFT - Hate - Not Eligible for Resubmission
503 Content Violation - SHAFT - Alcohol - Not Eligible for Resubmission
504 Content Violation - SHAFT - Firearms - Not Eligible for Resubmission
505 Content Violation - SHAFT - Tobacco / Vape - Not Eligible for Resubmission
506 Content Violation - SHAFT - CBD/Marijuana - Not Eligible for Resubmission
507 Campaign Violation - Age Gate Not Present / Not Acceptable - Eligible for Resubmission with Robust Age Gate implemented
508 Known Spam Campaign - Not Eligible for Resubmission
509 Disallowed Content - Loan Marketing - Not Eligible for Resubmission
510 Disallowed Content - 3rd Party Debt Collection - Not Eligible for Resubmission
511 Disallowed Content - Gambling - Not Eligible for Resubmission
532 Disallowed Content - Sweepstakes - Not Eligible for Resubmission
533 Disallowed Content - Stock Alerts - Not Eligible for Resubmission
534 Disallowed Content - Cryptocurrency - Not Eligible for Resubmission
535 Disallowed Content - Risk Investment - Not Eligible for Resubmission
536 Disallowed Content - Debt Reduction - Not Eligible for Resubmission
537 Disallowed Content - Credit Repair - Not Eligible for Resubmission
538 Disallowed Content - 3rd Party Lead Generation - Not Eligible for Resubmission
539 Disallowed Content - Federally Illegal Substances - Not Eligible for Resubmission
540 Known Phishing Campaign - Not Eligible for Resubmission
541 High Risk - Fraud - Not Eligible for Resubmission
542 High Risk - Deceptive Marketing - Not Eligible for Resubmission
543 High Risk - Public URL Shortener - correct to branded URL domain
544 High Risk - Non-secured URL - correct to HTTPS://
545 Invalid Information - Can't Verify Business Information - Correct Business Information / Address / Contact / URL - Eligible for Resubmission
546 Invalid Information - Can't Validate URL - Website is not accessible / not available - Eligible for Resubmission
547 Invalid Information - ISV Contact Information Provided, Need Assigned End User - Eligible for Resubmission
548 Opt-in - Not sufficient for campaign type - Express Consent Required - Eligible for Resubmission
549 Opt-in - Consent for messaging is a requirement for service - Eligible for Resubmission
550 Opt-in - No opt-in provided - Eligible for Resubmission
551 Opt-in is shared with 3rd Parties - Remove language for information sharing / Add language that opt-in is not allowed - Eligible for Resubmission
552 Campaign Violation - Single Number Used for Multiple Businesses - please assign a TFN per business - Eligible for resubmission
620 Additional Information Requested - Justification for more than 5 numbers/business
621 Additional Information Requested - Opt-in information not provided, please update
622 Additional Information Requested - Business Information not valid

I'm experiencing message failures. Who do I contact? 

The Messaging Compliance team only processes verification requests. If you are experiencing a disruption of your messaging traffic, please check out this support page with detailed steps on how to open a technical support ticket with Bandwidth to begin the investigation.

What is the cost of verification? 

There is no cost for verification. Verification is free.

How long does verification take?

Depending upon the volume, the Bandwidth pre-vetting process can take up to 1 week to get submitted for review with the toll-free aggregator. Once submitted, the official review process may take up to 3-4 weeks. This means the total processing time could take up to 5 weeks.

Verifications are processed in the order they are received, so no provider is faster than any other provider. For additional information please see our section on toll-free verification timelines above.

How will I be notified regarding the status of my verification request?

Once the team receives and prescreens the request, it will be submitted to our toll-free peer.  The team will open a support ticket with the BW customer, using the compliance POC email, listed on the brief. Within that support ticket, an order ID will be supplied. 

How do I inquire about the status or questions regarding my verification request? 

Please respond via the support ticket opened with the compliance POC email. If you are having trouble locating that ticket number, please reach out to msgcompliance@bandwidth.com. 

How can I see if a toll-free number has been previously verified or is currently verified?

There is currently no ability to see if a toll-free number has been verified through the Bandwidth dashboard, although this feature has been added to our roadmap. If you would like to know which of your numbers are currently verified, please reach out to the Bandwidth Support Team.

What are the benefits of going through the verification process?

  • Reduced amount of false-positive blocks
  • Faster resolution for deliverability issues
  • Increased protection for your customer’s brand

Will verification reduce the chance of being blocked by carriers?

Verification means that the filters applied to a number will be refined, so blocks should lessen. However, if content changes/differs from approved campaign purposes or if language is sent over the number that triggers a filter, the number may be blocked. For example, if cannabis traffic is sent on a verified number, it should create a block.

Can I whitelist campaigns? 

Verification is not whitelisting. Verification doesn’t systematically remove or prevent any spam blocking. However, it’ll put the use case on file with our peers so that we can work with them more quickly if the messages are blocked. Verification only impacts active deliverability with our toll-free messaging partner and not mobile carriers.

My verified toll-free number(s) got blocked. Can I unblock it? 

Yes, please open a support ticket with our Messaging Deliverability team. If the number is already verified, please share this information in the ticket for a quicker resolution.

How many numbers can I submit at once?

The verification process is designed to verify a single number with a single-use case. We do, however, understand that there are other use cases that require more than one number. 

If you are submitting a request with 5 or more numbers, you will need to use the bulk toll-free verification form. You may submit up to 1000 numbers per form. However, each number will be verified individually for specific compliance requirements.

Can a reseller get all of their numbers verified? 

Verification is meant for the end business actually sending the message traffic and not for the reseller. We're not able to verify numbers at the platform level.

Can I submit verification requests via API?

Bandwidth is currently developing an API to automate customer submission for toll-free verification. The Toll-free Verification API will allow submissions to be sent directly to the Toll-Free Aggregator without going through a Bandwidth review. Numbers will enter a pending state once received by the aggregator, and status changes can be retrieved through the API. While this will speed up the submission process, the review process will still take between 3-4 weeks.

The Toll-free Verification API timeline has shifted and we are aiming for May. Please reach out to the Bandwidth Support Team if you have detailed questions. The API will be available at no additional cost and will not need additional contracting.

My customer has numbers that were previously verified via their prior provider. What is the process of re-confirming verification through Bandwidth? 

A toll-free number will retain its verified status when ported. We strongly encourage our customers to submit verification requests for their toll-free numbers once they port to the Bandwidth network so we have a record of the campaign details in the case of a blocking event. Resubmitting the toll-free requests with Bandwidth will not put the numbers in a "pending" status, so the numbers should not be affected by the pending sending limits.

Please complete our toll-free brief or submit a bulk request to . If applicable, please attach any previously approved verification forms and/or ticket numbers. 

Am I able to appeal a 547 (Invalid Information - ISV Contact Information Provided, Need Assigned End User) denial code?

Toll-free Verification requires end-user business information, or in other words the information of the business that the customer is engaging with. For ISVs or aggregators who provide messaging services to businesses, it’s expected that the information provided represents the entity that is engaging with the opted-in handset. In order to resolve this denial code, the end-user contact details will need to be provided.

Our toll-free aggregator uses this information to verify the legitimacy of the end business. They will not contact or share the end-business user with the information provided. Submissions that are missing end-user information or are populated with ISV/Aggregator information will be rejected. Exceptions may apply when the use case clearly showcases that the ISV manages opt-in mechanisms, and is the sole message content creator.

Toll-free verification form fields and descriptions

Field Required Description
Bandwidth Customer Name Yes The business name of the Bandwidth customer submitting the request.
Bandwidth Customer Account ID Yes The Bandwidth Dashboard account number in which the toll-free number(s) is assigned.
Bandwidth Customer Email Address (for Status Updates) Yes The email address of the Bandwidth customer that will be receiving the status updates on the request.
Message Sender: Legal Company Name Yes The end business / the business the consumer is engaging with.
Message Sender: URL/Website Yes The website of the end business.
Message Sender Primary Company Address or Corporate Headquarters Yes The address of the end business.
Business Contact: First Name Yes

The first name of the point of contact at the end business.

Note: This won’t be used to contact the end customer during the verification process.
Business Contact: Last Name Yes

The last name of the point of contact at the end business.

Note: This won’t be used to contact the end customer during the verification process.
Business Contact: Phone Yes

The phone number of the point of contact at the end business.

Note: This won’t be used to contact the end customer during the verification process.
Business Contact: Email Yes

The email address of the point of contact at the end business.

Note: This won’t be used to contact the end customer during the verification process.
Estimated Monthly Message Volume Yes The estimated monthly message volume for the submission. Choose the closest value, and, if the customer is ramping, please use the value of where the customer will be in 6 months.
How many numbers are you attempting to verify on this request? Yes

Choose from one of the following options: 1, 2-5, or 6 or more.

If you select 2-5, you'll be able to explain the reason for needing more than 1 number. If you select 6 or more, you'll be directed to submit the bulk toll-free verification form.
Phone number(s) associated with this campaign Yes The toll-free number(s) that are part of the submission.
Please choose the category that best represents your use case/content Yes Select the category that best fits your use case.
Use Case Summary Yes The description of the use case/submission. The more details, the better.
How is opt-in collected? Yes Choose from one of the following options: Online, Text to Join, Point of Sale, Other.
Please provide URL of opt-in image Yes Upload images of the opt-in process and what a subscriber is agreeing to.
Please provide supporting information of how opt-in is collected No

Provide additional details regarding the opt-in process. If you've selected Text to Join, provide the keyword here. If you've selected Other, provide specific information on how the process occurs.

Note: Although this field isn't required, providing additional details gives you a better chance to get verified.
Production Messages Yes Provide 1-3 production use case examples.

Questions? Please open a ticket with your Bandwidth Support Team or hit us up at (855) 864-7776!

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