Marketing Pitfalls: Be Cautious!

It can be frustrating to have no results from marketing efforts; however, there are much more serious problems than an ineffective marketing campaign.  Some kinds of marketing are illegal under federal and/or state law, and regulators and private attorneys are on the prowl, looking for violations.  Be vigilant and ensure that you are not opening yourself up to liability under these statutes that could significantly harm your business ventures.

For this reason, we are providing below a reminder of some of the key laws you should always keep in mind when engaging in certain marketing activities.  This list is not exhaustive, but highlights some of the laws that are behind many current lawsuits. While this article is intended to give you a basic understanding and reminder of the law in this area, it is always best to carefully review your specific situation, applicable local laws and your policies for compliance with your legal counsel.

CAN-SPAM (applies to marketing e-mails).  The federal CAN-SPAM Act establishes requirements for commercial emails, gives recipients the right to have you stop emailing them with marketing messages, and spells out tough penalties for violations of up to $41,000 per email. 

All commercial email messages are included in this law, which has the following main requirements:

  • Don’t use false or misleading header information.  (The “From”, “To”, and originating email address must all be accurate and identify you as the sender)
  • Don’t use deceptive subject lines to try to grab attention (such as “important message” or “open me”); subject line must accurately reflect the content of the message, and show that the message is an advertisement.
  • Do include a valid physical postal address in your email.  Every marketing email  must have a physical address contained in it (i.e. in your signature block) at which you can be reached.
  • Do tell recipients how to stop receiving future email marketing messages from you, and honor such “stop” requests within 10 business days.  Note:  any “unsubscribe” button must remain active for the recipient for 30 days.

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