Email and the Law

Just what we wanted

Just what we wanted

Email marketing is beset with rules and regulations, some of which are precise and easy to understand. We all know when an unsubscribe button must be included and if anyone fails to conform to this requirement they have only themselves to blame. In general most legislation is written in clear English, almost as if they want us to be able to understand it.

There have been cases recently on interpretation of specific rules and in some, but by no means all those found to have breached the regulations have been working in more or less good faith. So it would be handy to have some sort of revelation as to where email marketing law will go in future. And guess what? We have some.

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has got together with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to issue guidance on interpretation of certain aspects of consumer protection law in the travel industry. Whilst you might think this means it does not apply to your specific product or business, it gives a clear intimation of the way the regulators see enforcement going.

They have published draft guidance which covers five main points:

1/ pricing;

2/ basic information;

3/ opting in;

4/ provision of information; and

5/ terms and conditions.

In essence they require fair play, so nothing unusual there. However it goes on to specifics, many of which will have echoes in other forms of email marketing.

For instance there is a requirement for clear, transparent and upfront pricing. Very basic and one which we all would understand we should be doing. Whilst making it clear which airline the customer is booking with is specific to the travel industry, for everyone else it means we should not hold back information.

For the rest it mentions that extras should be supplied on opt-in basis, information should be given in time and it should be accurate, and terms and conditions must be clear.

There is nothing remarkable, nor frightening in the draft guidance. However, it could well be useful to read to see the way the OFT is going.



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