Spam is also known as Unsolicited Commercial Email (UCE). It is usually sent by businesses to a large number of people to promote their products and services. The reason why spam is unethical is because it is sent to customers without their wilful consent.
Spamming is not limited to emails; it also includes text messages, tweets, and any kind of electronic communication via text, image, voice or sound. It is illegal for businesses to send spam messages to its customers or potential customers. If your business sends spam messages to your customers, be ready to face legal as well as other consequences.
Spamming not only kills your customer’s inbox, but your business’s reputation too.
Ill-Effects of Spam
Let’s look at the legal aspects later. To begin with, the main ill-effects of spamming customers are as follows:
- Loss of credibility
Spamming does not exactly send a good message to your customers. On the receiving end, spam is very inconvenient as it wastes time and other resources. Your customers lose faith in your products and services, and doubt your ability to create and maintain good customer relationships.
- Loss of investor confidence
No investor wants to back a business that engages in illegal activities. Spamming customers will result in your losing valuable investors.
- Loss of money
While sending emails in bulk does not cost anything, the time and resources you spend sending those emails add up. Spamming rarely generates a single sale. You only end up wasting money on an ineffective sales tactic.
Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation
Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) came into effect on July 1, 2014. The Fighting Internet and Wireless Spam Act (FISA), also known as Bill C-28, falls under CASL. It affects all Canadian individuals and businesses that send messages via electronic channels in order to promote their product and services. If you want to send bulk emails to your customers, you need to get their consent.
All types of organisations come under CASL, including charities and not-for-profit organisations. The legislation is enforced by issuing undertakings and notices of violations.
Legal Consequences of Spamming in Canada
If your business does not comply with Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation, you will be penalised – it doesn’t matter whether you spammed your customers knowingly or unknowingly. While there are no automatic penalties, the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) judges each case independently and decides on what the fine should be.
CRTC scrutinises the nature of the violation, your business’ history with Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation and whether you profited financially from the violation. According to your ability to pay penalties, your businesses could be fined a maximum of $10 million. For individuals, the maximum penalty is $1 million.
The government of Canada is doing all it can to reduce spamming and its ill-effects. What measures do you think can be taken against spamming?
Image Source: Jason Rogers via Flickr