Are you gearing up to send emails to your customers, clients and/or colleagues about your products and services? Keep in mind that commercial email messages are regulated by the CAN-SPAM Act. The good news is that compliance with the legal requirements outlined in the Act isn’t difficult.
Here is a brief rundown of the Act’s main requirements:
- Don’t use false or misleading header information – accurately identify the sender of the email
- Don’t use deceptive subject lines
- Identify the email message as an advertisement
- Include your physical postal address in the email so recipients know where you’re located
- Tell recipients how to opt-out of receiving future email from you
- Honor opt-out requests promptly
- If you hire folks to handle your email-marketing, monitor what they are doing on your behalf to ensure compliance with the CAN-SPAM Act.
Here is a short excerpt from the CAN-SPAM Compliance Guide for Business issued by the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection on compliance:
Despite its name, the CAN-SPAM Act doesn’t apply just to bulk email. It covers all commercial messages, which the law defines as “any electronic mail message the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service,” including email that promotes content on commercial websites. The law makes no exception for business-to- business email. That means all email – for example, a message to former customers announcing a new product line – must comply with the law.
Each separate email in violation of the CAN-SPAM Act is subject to penalties of up to $16,000, so non-compliance can be costly. But following the law isn’t complicated.
Check your holiday email blasts twice before sending them out to folks.
BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.
See also: The CAN-SPAM Act at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-108publ187/pdf/PLAW-108publ187.pdf (section 5 lists the requirements for transmission of commercial email messages); the CAN-SPAM Compliance Guide for Business issued by the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection at http://www.business.ftc.gov/documents/bus61-can-spam-act-compliance-guide-business; http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/can-spam; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.