I have heard complaints about emails received from realtors® that are not in compliance with the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003.
CAN-SPAM defines a “commercial electronic mail message” as “any electronic mail message the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service (including content on an Internet website operated for a commercial purpose).” It exempts “transactional or relationship messages.”
Each separate email in violation of the CAN-SPAM Act is subject to penalties of up to $16,000, and more than one person may be held responsible for violations. For example, both the company whose product is promoted in the message and the company that originated the message may be legally responsible.
Q. Does this mean I cannot send an email to all agents letting them know about my new listing or Brokers Opens?
A. No, the bill permits e-mail marketers to send unsolicited commercial e-mail as long as it adheres to 3 basic types of compliance defined in the CAN-SPAM Act: (1) unsubscribe (2) content and (3) sending behavior compliance.
- Don’t use false or misleading header information – must be accurate and identify the person or business who initiated the message.
- Don’t use deceptive subject lines. The subject line must accurately reflect the content of the message.
- Identify the message as an ad. 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. Craft the notice in a way that’s easy for an ordinary person to recognize, read, and understand. Creative use of type size, color, and location can improve clarity. Give a return email address or another easy Internet-based way to allow people to communicate their choice to you. You may create a menu to allow a recipient to opt out of certain types of messages, but you must include the option to stop all commercial messages from you.
- Honor opt-out requests promptly. You must honor a recipient’s opt-out request within 10 business days. Once people have told you they don’t want to receive more messages from you, you can’t sell or transfer their email addresses, even in the form of a mailing list.
- Monitor what others are doing on your behalf.
The complaints we receive generally fall under items 5 & 6 above. For more complete information visit http://business.ftc.gov/documents/bus61-can-spam-act-compliance-guide-business
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