Each individual email that violates the CAN-SPAM Act is subject to penalties of up to $16,000.
I have never heard of anyone getting slapped with this fine, but up to $16,000 per non-compliant email is not a risk that I am going to be taking any time soon so long as I can help it. On the brighter side of things, I like to think that regulations like these fight to keep our mail boxes clean and free of SPAM.
There are a few guidelines that we should all follow to both avoid any risks of fines as well as to keep from adding our own piles of spam to our beloved customers’ inboxes. These guidelines apply to both bulk email and individual emails that are classified as commercial messages:
“any electronic mail message the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service,”
So, if you are sending advertisements via email, here is a brief summary of what you must do:
- Don’t use false or misleading header information. Your “From,” “To,” “Reply-To,” and routing information – including the originating domain name and email address – must be accurate and identify the person or business who initiated the message.
- Don’t use deceptive subject lines.
- Identify the message as an ad. The law gives you a lot of leeway in how to do this, but you must disclose clearly and conspicuously that your message is an advertisement.
- Tell recipients where you’re located. Your message must include your valid physical postal address.
- Tell recipients how to opt out of receiving future email from you. Your message must include a clear and conspicuous explanation of how the recipient can opt out of getting email from you in the future.
- Honor opt-out requests promptly.
More detailed outline can be found at the Bureau of Consumer Protection