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Is your business following the rules for the CAN-SPAM Act?

As a business owner or entrepreneur, you know that marketing is key to your success — and direct marketing is often more successful than anything else.

Just be careful that you don’t violate the law when you send out those emails to your customers and clients. Otherwise, you can be setting yourself up for major trouble from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

What’s the CAN-SPAM Act?

At one time, spam messages were flooding everybody’s email boxes. Congress stepped in and set some rules down to regulate email practices by businesses so that consumers would get some relief.

Under the rules, email marketing must:

  • Have a subject line that clearly indicates the purpose and content of the message
  • Be clearly identified as an advertisement or solicitation of business
  • Identify any sexually-oriented material in the email within the first 19 characters of the subject line with the phrase “sexually explicit” in all caps
  • Include information about where your business is located, including your physical postal address
  • Include an easy way for the recipient of the email to “opt out” of future communication

If customers gave you their consent for emails, you’re relieved of the requirement of identifying the message as an ad, but all other requirements are the same.

What happens if you violate the CAN-SPAM Act?

Violations can subject your business to fines and penalties that total up to $42,530 for each email you send that isn’t compliant with the CAN-SPAM Act.

Keep in mind that virtually anybody on the receiving end of your email marketing campaign can report your company to the FTC for a suspected violation.

Your business is your future, so take steps to protect it. Understanding your obligations under the law when you operate is essential to your ability to prosper.