A company that sent unsolicited commercial e-mail after consumers asked it to stop agreed to pay a $50,717 civil penalty on November 6 to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it violated federal law. The FTC charged Yesmail Inc., doing business as @Once Corporation, with sending e-mail on behalf of its clients more than 10 business days after recipients asked it to stop.
According to the FTC’s complaint, Yesmail offers e-mail marketing services, including sending commercial e-mail and processing unsubscribe requests from recipients. The FTC’s complaint alleges that Yesmail’s spam filtering software filtered out certain “reply to” unsubscribe requests from recipients as “spam,” which resulted in Yesmail failing to honor unsubscribe requests by sending thousands of commercial e-mail messages to recipients more than 10 business days after their requests.
The CAN-SPAM Act requires commercial e-mailers to give recipients an opt-out method and honor such requests within 10 business days. The Act also bans false or misleading header information, prohibits deceptive subject lines, requires that commercial e-mail be identified as an advertisement, and requires the sender to include a valid physical postal address.
Under the proposed settlement, Yesmail, a Delaware corporation based in California, is permanently prohibited from violating the CAN-SPAM Act, including failing to include in its e-mail a functioning return e-mail address or other Internet-based mechanism that a recipient may use to decline future e-mail, failing to disclose an opportunity to decline to receive e-mail, or sending e-mail more than 10 business days after a recipient has asked them to stop. The Commission vote to authorize staff to refer the complaint and consent order to the Department of Justice for filing was 5-0. The complaint and order were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
Camelia C. Mazard