We’re back with the next post in our series of articles taking a deep dive into some of the key facets of CAN-SPAM compliance. Today, we look at another of the most vital aspects of CAN-SPAM compliance, honoring opt-out requests from recipients.
What does The CAN-SPAM Act say?
- 7704. Other protections for users of commercial electronic mail
(4) Prohibition of transmission of commercial electronic mail after objection
(A) In general
If a recipient makes a request using a mechanism provided pursuant to paragraph (3) not to receive some or any commercial electronic mail messages from such sender, then it is unlawful—
(i) for the sender to initiate the transmission to the recipient, more than 10 business days after the receipt of such request, of a commercial electronic mail message that falls within the scope of the request;
(ii) for any person acting on behalf of the sender to initiate the transmission to the recipient, more than 10 business days after the receipt of such request, of a commercial electronic mail message with actual knowledge, or knowledge fairly implied on the basis of objective circumstances, that such message falls within the scope of the request;
(iii) for any person acting on behalf of the sender to assist in initiating the transmission to the recipient, through the provision or selection of addresses to which the message will be sent, of a commercial electronic mail message with actual knowledge, or knowledge fairly implied on the basis of objective circumstances, that such message would violate clause (i) or (ii); or
(iv) for the sender, or any other person who knows that the recipient has made such a request, to sell, lease, exchange, or otherwise transfer or release the electronic mail address of the recipient (including through any transaction or other transfer involving mailing lists bearing the electronic mail address of the recipient) for any purpose other than compliance with this chapter or other provision of law.
(B) Subsequent affirmative consent
A prohibition in subparagraph (A) does not apply if there is affirmative consent by the recipient subsequent to the request under subparagraph (A).
From the FTC’s CAN-SPAM Act: A Compliance Guide for Business
- Honor opt-out requests promptly. Any opt-out mechanism you offer must be able to process opt-out requests for at least 30 days after you send your message. You must honor a recipient’s opt-out request within 10 business days. You can’t charge a fee, require the recipient to give you any personally identifying information beyond an email address, or make the recipient take any step other than sending a reply email or visiting a single page on an Internet website as a condition for honoring an opt-out request. 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. The only exception is that you may transfer the addresses to a company you’ve hired to help you comply with the CAN-SPAM Act.
The key aspects of complying with this element of the CAN-SPAM Act
- You must honor opt-out requests within 10 business days of receipt.
- Opt-out requests must be processed for 30 days following the marketing email being sent. Typically this means the link in the email must remain functional for at least 30 days following the campaign being mailed.
- You also may not sell or transfer email addresses of those who have opted out – except for the instance of transferring these email addresses to a company you have hired to help you comply with the CAN-SPAM Act.