Monday, 9 March 2015

5 Lessons Learned From the First Major CASL Violation

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5 Lessons Learned From the First Major CASL Violation


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It’s happened. The first real fine has been handed down by Canadian government authorities over violations of Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL). Compu-Finder was fined $1.1 million CAD late last week. This fine certainly answers some questions, and should serve as a real wake-up call to senders who didn’t properly change their actions when CASL came into force last year.


Compu-Finder seems like a very aggressive outfit with some especially disliked messaging. Here are some specifics quoted from the CRTC action:


“Further to an investigation, the Chief Compliance and Enforcement Officer finds that Compu-Finder sent commercial electronic messages without the recipient’s consent as well as emails in which the unsubscribe mechanisms did not function properly. The emails sent by Compu-Finder promoted various training courses to businesses, often related to topics such as management, social media and professional development. The four alleged violations occurred between July 2, 2014 and September 16, 2014. Furthermore, an analysis of the complaints made to the Spam Reporting Centre of this industry sector shows that Compu-Finder accounts for 26% of all complaints submitted.”


There are some important details to highlight that marketers should learn from. Four alleged violations triggered the fine. Granted, the fact that 26% of all submitted complaints had something to do with the amount of the fine, but it does indicate that you don’t need thousands of violations to find your organization at risk for legal trouble.


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Here are some points to share with your marketing leader to ensure he or she understands the severity of how senders can potentially be fined and penalized for illegal activity Here’s a quick recap of the high points of CASL:



  1. You must get explicit permission to email someone, or have an existing business relationship (that means they’ve purchased from you)

  2. Explicit permission is good until revoked

  3. Implicit permission expires after two years

  4. Pre-Checked boxes are against the law

  5. The grandfather period for existing customers only applies to people in your database as of CASL implementation (July 2014). Anyone you obtained after implementation, you must have explicit permission. There’s sometimes confusion with senders who incorrectly think there was a blanket 2-year grace period.


This incident is concrete evidence of CASL’s viability.


If you haven’t had the CASL discussion with your key sending stakeholders, do so today.





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