Countdown to CASL - Caveat Emptor!

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Today, Chief Privacy Officer James Koons shares a warning about CASL-compliance services scams: 

In just five short days the new Canadian Anti-SPAM Legislation goes into effect. This has sparked everything from a steady stream of re-confirmation emails to frantic calls to attorneys in an attempt to ensure last minute compliance. There is a mad dash on all fronts to make sure the right thing is done before the July 1st deadline. There is a lot of action in the email marketing space and it’s all centered around CASL.

In the midst of all this commotion, I’ve become aware of several organizations offering so-called “CASL compliance services”. While some of them are honest efforts to help marketers become complaint and maintain their compliance with the new legislation, a good bit of them appear to be downright scams. These apparent “scammer” organizations are not email services providers, email consultants or law firms; they are organizations that seem to have been born overnight and offer packaged services to “make your email marketing list compliant”.  I was made aware of one story where a brand marketer paid $4,000 for such a “service”. The marketer provided his list of subscribers and in return received two files. One file was any subscriber with a ‘.ca’ email address, and the other file was the remainder of his contacts. This will not make you CASL-compliant at all.

It is true that reaching out to Canadian subscribers and requesting express consent is a good direction to go as far as compliance. In order to do this efficiently, you need to be managing your subscriber lists on a platform that lets you create segments by region. You definitely don’t want to be reconfirming or purging your entire global list of subscribers if you don’t have to (see my comments on that). While this is a good thing to do, keep in mind that it’s not 100% failsafe – there is a lot more you need to do. There are other things that the legislation calls for, and you need to be aware of what they are. In addition, the CRTC recently issued Compliance and Enforcement Information Bulletin CRTC 2014-326 which is a set of guidelines to help businesses develop corporate compliance programs.

So buyer beware. Before entering into an agreement for any “CASL compliance services,” make sure you know what you’re getting.  I suggest working with your legal counsel and/or your email service provider on your compliance efforts. Listrak has worked with our outside counsel in Canada and the United States as well as the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission and Industry Canada to become educated on the legislation and learn what we need to do to become and maintain compliance with this new legislation.  Please visit Listrak’s CASL Resource Center at http://www.listrak.com/CASL. Here you will find links to the actual legislation as well as informative webinars and tools which will assist you with your compliance efforts.