Whilst getting myself organised to release the very first issue of the Rusty Mango e-newsletter (currently about six months in the making now), I thought it would be perfect timing take a quick refresh on the basics of the Spam Act of 2003. This Act outlines how commercial electronic messages (emails and texts) should be sent out to recipients by businesses and various organisations across Australia. There are some pretty serious fines involved if these laws are not adhered to so it’s important to have a firm grip on what’s involved before sending anything out at all.
By definition in the Spam Act, a commercial electronic message is a message that:
- offers, advertises or promotes the supply of goods, services, land or business or investment opportunities.
- advertises or promotes a supplier of goods, services, land or a provider of business or investment opportunities.
- helps a person dishonestly obtain property, commercial advantage or other gain from another person.
The Act works out the commercial nature of a message by checking out the content, the way the message is presented and any links, phone numbers or contact information that may lead to content with a commercial intent.
When sending a commercial electronic message, there are three key areas that you must carefully consider: Consent, Identify and Unsubscribe.
Do you have the consent of the recipient?
You must only send commercial electronic messages to people if they have provided you with their expressed or inferred consent.
Inferred consent regards those customers that you maintain an ongoing relationship with and they have previously provided contact details.
As a guide, one-off purchases are not regarded as a basis for inferring consent.
Expressed consent is the permission you have received directly from the recipient where they have asked that you send them further information. This is found on most websites in the form of a subscription button but ensure that you make it very clear what will be received in returned and how often.
Does the message clearly identify how it is from?
All commercial electronic messages must contain accurate contact information that clearly identifies the business (or person) who is sending the message. This information must remain accurate for a minimum of 30 days after the message has been sent.
Can the recipient easily unsubscribe from the email messages?
All messages must have clear options to unsubscribe regardless of how long (or short) they are. This allows the recipients the ability to “opt out” of receiving further communications. Once someone has taken this option, it must be honoured within five working days or penalties may be applied. Just like the information identifying the business, the unsubscribe link must be valid for thirty days after the message has been received.
There it is in a nutshell. If a business sticks to these fairly simple guidelines, it should be fine to send out its electronic messages without a problem. But please take note that this information has been provided as a guide only. The team at Rusty Mango Design does its utmost to make sure that the information on our web site and blog is accurate and helpful at all times. But, we can’t ultimately warrant the accuracy of all information and will not be held responsible or liable for how you use it with your business or organisation. Check out the Spam Act for yourself at ACMA’s Spam Act and Codes of Practice page for more detailed information and to make your own judgements.
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