The minimum fine that can be received for a complaint of spam is 100 thousand rubles. As practice shows, anyone who sends letters can be threatened. And here it is not necessary to have a dubious reputation, it can even be a planned mailing from a well-known company.
The fact is that users can subscribe to the newsletter without noticing it, for example, when sending data on the site. As a result, they receive a bunch of junk emails and send them to spam, and some users even go to the FAS to apply.
How to avoid all this and minimize the risk of receiving a penalty for mailing – will be discussed in this article.
What does the law say?
When a user lodges a complaint with the FAS, the Federal Antimonopoly Service, Article 18 “Advertising Distributed on Telecommunication Networks” begins to be considered. She says that advertising can be distributed by telecommunication only in cases where the user has given prior consent. The amount of the fine varies from 100 to 500 thousand rubles.
In fact, if during the ordering or filling out the form a person emphasizes the tick to agree to receive the newsletter, then there should be no problems. However, this does not always work – the FAS can approve the complaint, even if it was ticked.
An excellent example of this is the travel company Travelata. The incident occurred in 2016, when one of the subscribers wrote a statement to UFAS regarding the Udmurt Republic stating that he received letters in the mail without his prior consent. He relied on Article 18, and the company itself did not make spam. On the contrary, it acted according to the already worked out scheme:
- sent a congratulatory letter in which there was an opportunity to unsubscribe;
- each letter had a button to unsubscribe, located in the footer;
- requests to unsubscribe were promptly processed – such requests were received for technical support.
It would seem that such reply options should reduce to zero the approval of any complaints, not to mention their occurrence. For single subscriptions, this probably works well, but what about when a user subscribes to a newsletter several times? Travelata’s experience shows that proving anything in such cases is quite problematic. Their client did the following:
- I bought tours several times. The site has an automatic tick for consent, which means that every time a user buys a tour, he subscribes to the newsletter. For example, if a month ago the user bought a tour and subscribed to the newsletter, and then a few days later described from it, then after purchasing another tour, the subscription is renewed, because there is a check mark.
- I tried to unsubscribe from mailings on my own. His wish was not successful, as new tours were bought. Although the administration unsubscribed from the mailing list, they were renewed through auto-ticking.
After numerous attempts to unsubscribe from the mailing list, the customer filed a complaint against Travelata – he stated that the company sent letters without his consent. Although details of all actions were provided, the FAS did not see any evidence that the user agreed.
Why this happened – we will understand further.
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Is there enough tick? Do I need a signature?
The only proof that the user has given their consent is an electronic or physical signature. So say lawyers, and the FAS itself often does not consider the tick as something important.
If you are the owner of an online store, the collection of such signatures can be safely organized, but what to do in other cases? You are unlikely to be able to find the perfect solution, but you can try to minimize the chance of approving the application. How to achieve this, you can read at the end of the article – there we give proven tips. In the meantime, let’s consider another important point – the unsubscribe button.
Unsubscribe button and its importance
Nobody likes to lose subscribers, but, as practice shows, it’s better than at Travelata. It is important to understand a very important thing: not everyone and always likes your product – some users may change their views. They should not be limited in this.
If there is no “Unsubscribe” button, you will automatically become a spammer for those who do not need your services. As a result, two things can happen: either your email provider will consider you a spammer because of frequent complaints, or users will start contacting the FAS through constant and annoying mailings.
In addition, the “Unsubscribe” button can help your business. If there are a lot of unsubscribes, you can understand what you are doing wrong and how to improve the mailing.
Here are some tips to help you minimize the risk of being fined for mailing:
- It is important that there is proof that the user has agreed. As we said above, this tick is not enough. Additionally, you need to connect the double opt-in option. The consumer twice confirms his consent to send an email – when he signs and when he replies to the confirmation letter.
- Form with the already mentioned tick – avoid this, do not force the user, but give the opportunity to make a choice yourself.
- Keep a history of subscribers and correspondence with them to use as evidence later.
- Add a user agreement to the site and to the newsletter. At the same time, turn on the item where you warn that you can use customer addresses for mailing.
- Include in the joint agreement with the user items on the processing of personal data and informing the customer by e-mail, telephone and SMS.
- To increase the value of the evidence, keep a list of users who have unsubscribed from the newsletter. It can help you in difficult situations when a person has regularly signed and unsubscribed.
- Make sure that customers’ requests to unsubscribe are sent in a timely manner.
We also recommend reading one of the examples of wording the use of email-address:
According to the legislation of the Russian Federation, it is possible to avoid a penalty for mailings only when the user has used the electronic or physical signature. Otherwise, there is a good chance of getting a fine, but this risk can be minimized by following the advice we gave above.
The main rule – do not give visitors an automatically filled in consent form. They usually do not look at it, and then may complain that the letters come without prior consent.