Thinking of sending commercial email? Check the law before you click “send”. If your email turns out to be spam, you can face significant risks and penalties.
By sending unwanted commercial email, you may annoy potential customers, losing sales and relationship opportunities. Email providers, such as Telus, Shaw or Yahoo may add you to their junk mail filters, preventing even your legitimate emails from reaching their destinations. Your ISP and web host may shut down your email and web hosting, causing you embarassment, lost responses from interested customers, and an administrative headache. Under US CAN-SPAM regulations, you could be fined or jailed. And, if you send deceptive email, you could be charged under laws that ban false and misleading advertising.
Don’t assume that your email recipients are just individuals. If a lawyer puts together a class action suit, your individual email recipients may represent a major court challenge.
Under CAN-SPAM, you must follow these rules:
Follow those rules, and you’re essentially free to send commercial email. But violate those rules and you could find yourself in big trouble. And, if you think you’re safe in Canada, don’t be so sure. Can you be certain that your messages do not find their way to a US-based ISP or recipient? Moreover, Canada’s PIPEDA (Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act) could be interpreted to apply to commercial email. Canada is working on anti-spam laws, but PIPEDA could cause your company a headache in the meantime.
(c) 2004 by Andrea Coutu. Vancouver Marketing Consultant. All rights reserved.