Spammers risk prison under new regulations

The Consumer Protection for Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 which came into force on 26 May, made spamming an offence which could lead to up to two years in jail.

The CPR Regulations cover much more than just spam. They replace some existing laws and introduce new concepts defining misleading actions, any omission of key details and other “aggressive practices”.

31 different trade practices are re-defined and there are new rules restricting the use of the word ‘free’ or making persistent and unwanted solicitations by telephone, fax, email (hence the new spam penalties).

But will this do anything to stem the tide of spam coming into inboxes? Cynics suggest that, as much of this comes from overseas, there will be little impact from the new threat of jail.

There is, however, a palpable danger that legitimate email marketers could get caught in the net.

This means that even more care needs to be taken when planning email campaigns to ensure that the individuals targeted have given their permission to receive marketing messages.

When sourcing external data for host mailings, it is vital that the provenance of data is investigated, including how the email addresses were collected and what their owners were told at the point of sign-up.

Further information on the content of the regulations can be found at this link http://www.oft.gov.uk/shared_oft/business_leaflets/530162/oft979.pdf

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