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Top 10 Business Concerns about CASL that Affect Everyone
We give daily presentations on Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) and circulate information on the upcoming changes. We felt that it would be beneficial to address the most prevalent and common questions about CASL so far. All these can be found individually on our FAQ page.
The goal is to help as many businesses as possible get compliant ahead of the new legislation, and to demonstrate how SimplyCast already has many of these features built into our products. We are ready and willing to help you change, adapt and succeed. Without further ado, here are the top ten questions we have received about CASL that could apply to anyone.
1. Are media or press releases sent to media staff counted under CASL?
The quick answer to this is yes. However, it's a little more complex. If the contact information for that media staff is conspicuously posted, and not accompanied by a request to not receive unsolicited mail, then you have implied consent so long as the information being sent pertains to their job. To put that into plain English, you have to be able to easily find their contact information. It can't be accompanied by a "no unsolicited messages" stipulation. The information you send has to be relevant to their job. (In this scenario, it would have to be some kind of media release.)
2. Does consent ever expire?
Yes and no. Express consent doesn't expire unless withdrawn by the customer. Implied consent, however, comes with a set of rules. If the customer in question has made a purchase, or had a contract with you within two years, you're safe. If they have made an inquiry, you have 6 months to contact them with only information relevant to that inquiry. There are other forms of implied consent that you have with nonprofits and political campaigns as well, which are best explored with our CASL experts, or a lawyer.
3. Would asking for consent on social media count toward express consent?
Publicly asking your followers on any social media page would have to include certain things to count as consent. You would have to include who you are, what they are consenting to, and notify them that they can unsubscribe at any time using the unsubscribe link in all your communications. We would not recommend gathering consent this way, as comments can be deleted, which makes it a risky option.
4. Does CASL apply when sending to residents of other countries?
No, CASL doesn't. However, it's important to remember that CASL does stipulate that the CRTC can and will share information with countries whose spam laws are similar to our own. You have to be aware of the anti-spam laws in any country you send to, just in case.
5. How do we know if a publicly posted email address that had implied consent is taken down?
You don't, plain and simple. You also don't know if the email address user add a stipulation denying unsolicited messages. That's why using publicly posted emails is a risky proposition only intended for same-day prospecting on the part of marketers and salespeople.
6. If I have the same customers on multiple sending lists, can I just use one unsubscribe link?
You need to have an unsubscribe link in all your messages. Have options available for users so they can unsubscribe from specific messages but can still receive other messages if they want.
7. What if I can't prove that I have express consent?
Burden of proof is on the sender, so you have to have proof. If you don't have it, send out a reconfirm campaign, just asking that they reconfirm their consent. Remember that messages asking for consent count as Commercial Electronic Messages (CEMs). Only send to those for whom you would have implied consent if you send after July 1, 2014.
8. What is the difference between express and implied consent?
Express consent is permanent unless withdrawn. The customer knows who is sending, what is being sent, and that they can unsubscribe at any time. Implied consent lasts for either six months or two years. Messages can be sent relating to an inquiry within six months, and a purchase or contract within two years (so long as the message is related to the purchase or inquiry).
9. Can things be left general on an express consent form to allow for sending more than one thing?
In theory they can, although this area is left quite murky. You could state that you were sending your newsletter and associated promotional material, and it might pass. However, it's far safer to just get consent for each individual message, and not worry about being on the wrong side of the legislation.
10. If we are using a service to send on our behalf, which organization needs to gather consent?
The business that wanted the message sent in the first place is responsible. This means they need to get express consent. The best practice would be to provide the sending service a copy of proof of consent. This would allow both businesses to verify consent if they are asked to prove it. That being said, the primary business is in fact the responsible party, and should reconfirm and record all proof of consent. In each message, the party sending and the party on whose behalf the sending is done must be identified in the message.
We have gotten more specific questions, all of which you can find in our FAQ section. If you have a question we haven't covered, we'd love to hear from you! Email our customer care team, or check out our CASL preparation page!