Many consumers prefer to use email to receive information from the organization they are doing business with on new products, special offers, warranties, subscription renewals and newsletters. But the explosive growth of the Internet has resulted in email inboxes being filled with unsolicited sales pitches and marketing promotions. Known as spam email, these often annoying and sometimes offensive messages clog inboxes; waste time; and can cause you to miss legitimate email offers from companies you already do business with.
CMA's 800 corporate members are banned from sending spam email to acquire new customers. The Association's mandatory Code of the Ethics and Standards of Practice requires members to seek consent before sending commercial email, unless a relationship already exists. Even where a customer relationship does exist, they must provide you with the online means to refuse further email communications.
On July 1, 2014 Canada's Anti-Spam Law went into effect to help minimize the amount of unsolicited communications consumers receive. For further information on the law and how to report spam, visit the Government of Canada website.
Distinguishing Spam from Legitimate Email
To help you determine if an email is legitimate or if it's spam, remember:
- If you asked for it, it's not spam. Mass mailings of emails of a commercial nature are legitimate if you invited the communication by signing up for 'news' on certain topics or for offers of a particular kind.
- E-mail from friends is not spam. Forwarded messages from friends that ask you to send the message to 10 other people, although annoying, is not spam. If you know the person it's best to politely ask them to stop sending you forwarded emails.
- If you've signed up for a newsletter and no longer wish to receive it, just unsubscribe. Any legitimate organization will provide an easy way for you to be taken off their subscription list. However, be cautious when unsubscribing to a newsletter from an unknown organization. Some spammers masquerade as newsletters with "unsubscribe information" that can serve to confirm that your email is valid and cause you to receive even more spam.
ANY QUESTIONS? Review our consumer FAQs.