aThe Can-Spam Act is a law that applies to commercial messages and emails. This law is establishes the requirements for businesses who advertise through email and messages. It protects recipients by providing them with the option to ask these companies to stop sending messages. This type of protection is especially important as the number of companies advertising electronically continues to grow exponentially.

Apartment Lists is fully compliant with the Can-Spam Act. We follow the guidelines illustrated by the law. Our 2018 databank and all of our data is in accordance with the Can-Spam Act and other important laws. Our compliance helps improve your marketing capabilities and strategy. We want to build long-term business relationships that benefit all parties, even our customers. It’s important to us that we all treat customers with respect. We also ensure the businesses we work with are knowledgeable about various aspects of the Can-Spam act, as well as their rights.

How Does the Can-Spam Act Help?

Any commercial advertisement or promotion of a product or service sent through electronic mail is covered by the Can-Spam Act. This applies to email messages sent in bulk and email promotions of content on commercial websites. The law makes no exceptions for business-to-business emails. Therefore, if your company wants to send emails to past customers announcing new products or services, it must comply with all laws.

The Can-Spam Act helps maintain a good relationship between customers and businesses. Customers are the heart and soul of any business and companies reach customers through advertising. However, inappropriate or overwhelming advertisements quickly deplete the trust and patience of the customers. This law keeps the relationship in good standing. You can avoid heavy fines and even prosecution by following the specific guidelines of the Can-Spam Act.

Can-Spam Act Requirements

The Can-Spam Act requirements are not difficult to follow. To begin with, you must not use misleading or false information in your emails. This applies to all fields, including the email address and domain name. It’s very important to accurately show where the message came from. It’s equally important that you don’t use subject lines designed to deceive customers. Your subject line must be clear, relevant to the email message, and easy to understand. If your email is an advertisement then it must be identified as such. You also must display your physical mailing location as a post office box or a street address.

One of the most important things you need to include in your company’s commercial emails is the opportunity to opt-out. Recipients must have a way to remove themselves from your mailing list. Your email should include information on how they can stop receiving emails and your company must honor these requests within 10 business days. The opt-out instructions should be easy to follow. Companies are not allowed to charge a fee or request anything other than an email address to allow customers to unsubscribe. Recipients cannot be forced to do more than visit a single webpage to opt-out of receiving emails.

The Can-Spam Act requires all companies to respect opt-out requests. It is against the law to provide the customer’s information to anyone else other than a company specifically hired to help you comply with Can-Spam Act laws. It’s also important to realize that any company you hire that does not follow the Can-Spam Act falls back on the hiring company legally and financially.

Tips to Stay Compliant with the Can-Spam Act

Transparency is the best way to stay compliant with the Can-Spam Act. If you’re unsure if your company’s emails fall under this law then consider the primary purpose of the email being sent. View the message from a customer’s eye. Focus on which portion of the email is the most prominent. There are three primary types of emails businesses send. Commercial content emails include promotions or advertisements of the company’s products or services. This includes direction to website that serves a commercial purpose. Relationship or transaction emails are sent to customers regarding existing or ongoing transactions. The third type is any email that is neither transactional nor commercial.

Any emails with commercial content must obey the regulations of the Can-Spam Act. Relationship or transactional emails are exempt from most of the requirements of this specific law provided they provide no misleading information. In order for relationship or transactional emails to be exempt from the Can-Spam Act they must include information regarding an existing transaction. This means the recipient has already agreed to the transaction. This can also include purchases, shipment information, warranties, safety, recalls, or security information. This category also covers account balances, employee relationships and benefits, as well as changes in features or terms.

Can-Spam Act Violations and Penalties

The penalty for every single email violating the Can-Spam Act is up to $16,000. If your company sent the same email to thousands of individuals, these penalties could put your company out of business. In addition, if your email contains misleading claims it may be susceptible to the penalties of additional laws. Continuing violations result in higher fines and even imprisonment.

Violations of the Can-Spam Act include harvesting and generating emails by using random letters and numbers to locate legitimate addresses, using someone else’s computer or email address without permission, misleading recipients about the origin of the mail, and providing false information. These are just a few of the illegal activities that result in significant fines for your company. It’s best to avoid all unethical behavior and be honest with your customers and potential customers.

Learn the ins and outs of the Can-Spam Act as well as other state and federal laws to avoid both financial and criminal penalties. In questionable cases, speak with a professional to ensure your business is compliant. A professional can evaluate your practices and inform you on what you can do to fall into compliance with this and other laws. Following these regulations will save your company money and keep you in good standing with your customer base.

Call Apartment Lists at (800) 575-3002 for information or questions about how we follow the Can-Spam Act.