chapter 3

Privacy — Anti Spam

Spam

Defined

Unsolicited commercial electronic messaging. Electronic messagingincludes emails, instant messaging and SMS but does not cover normal voice-to-voice communication over the telephone.

As a shop owner, you often have the opportunity to collect and use your customers’ e-mail addresses. This can be a valuable resource to increase sales, but be sure to exercise caution when using this information. The Australian government has addressed privacy issues associated with this by implementing the Spam Act in 2003. The act preserves the value of commercial messaging while minimizing the costs and inconveniences of spam. Compliance with this legislation is enforced by the Australian Communication and Media Authority, and failure to comply can result in significant penalties.

Avoid Spamming

Three key steps

(i) Consent — You must have express or inferred consent from the receiver.
(ii) Identity — Messages must contain clear and accurate information about you or your business and how you can be contacted.
(iii) Unsubscribe — Messages must contain an unsubscribe button. Requests should be responded to promptly. The act says consent is officially withdrawn within 5 days.

Sending e-mails to customers is a great way to keep them informed about your products and offers. These sorts of communications are defined as “commercial electronic messages,” or CEMs for short.

Potentially problematic messages range from emails telling customers about a new sale to offering unsolicited business opportunities.

The law in Australia doesn’t ban these messages, but it does require that you (the sender) provide certain features and information in the messages you send.

These ensure that the recipient knows exactly who you are and that they can stop the messages from coming if they’re no longer interested.

Getting consent is a great way to make sure your marketing materials are well received and effective.

Express Consent:

A direct indication that it's acceptable to receive messages from a business

In order to give express consent, the receiver can subscribe to your messages by intentionally checking a box on your site, or by providing an email address for the purpose of getting information about your store. Consent can also be acquired if the receiver requested information over the phone.

Inferred Consent:

When the relationship between you and the recipient means it could be reasonably expected that such messages would be sent.

There are situations in which you can send marketing messages without the express consent mentioned above. This form of implied consent is dependent on a pre-existing relationship with the recipient, as well as their conduct.

If the product or service you’re selling on your online store is one where it can be reasonably expected that continued contact is necessary, you have inferred consent.

Consent is not inferred, and this relationship does not exist, when an individual provides their email address when purchasing a regular product or service online. Inferred consent is more difficult to establish and prove. The best course of action is to find a way to have the customer expressly consent to get future offers and deals from your online store.

Complying with this law will allow you to maximize your contact list as a means of marketing, while ensuring that your communications are legal.

Next chapter

4. Privacy — Data Protection

2 min

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