First CASL Fine Paid

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today announced that Plentyoffish Media Inc. has paid $48,000 as part of an undertaking for an alleged violation of Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL). PlentyOfFish is based in Vancouver, British Columbia and is an online dating service, popular primarily in Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, Brazil and the United States.

The issue came last year between July 1st and October 8th, 2014 when the company sent emails that did not have an unsubscribe mechanism that was not clearly and prominently set out, and which could not be readily performed, as required by CASL.

As you recall from just a few short weeks ago, we also reported on CRTC issuing its first fine under the anti-spam legislation. Quebec-based Compu-Finder was handed a $1.1-million fine for violating the law and already we have another case and goes with what we mentioned then how the CRTC is aware of companies – even in Canada – flagrantly violating the basic principles of the law by continuing to send unsolicited commercial electronic messages after the law came into force.

This isn’t the first case of its kind when dealing with unsubscribe mechanisms. In 2006, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charged Yesmail failing to honor unsubscribe requests by sending thousands of commercial email messages to recipients more than 10 business days after their requests. In that case, Yesmail agreed to pay a $50,717 civil penalty to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it violated federal law.

Both of these case are an important reminder to businesses that they need to review their unsubscribe mechanisms to ensure they are clearly and prominently set out and can be readily working and that the CRTC is serious about aspects for the requirements of CASL.

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