How to know if a Kiwi business is illegally sending you emails

Jay-Jay & Flynny 06/07/2022

Spam emails. They fill our inbox, and we often delete them without a second thought. But have you ever thought if those businesses have the legal right to send you emails in the first place?

This is the question Jay-Jay posed to Jon Duffy, CEO from Consumer NZ, who explained why it's illegal for a business to send you emails you didn't sign up to receive.

"In 2007, the government passed the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act, which is probably the most unsexy title for a piece of legislation ever, but it's commonly referred to as the Anti Spam Act," says Jon.

When a business sends you a commercial email you haven't consented to receiving, it can become a costly breach of the act.

Those are commercial emails promoting their business or anything to do with their business... they could actually be liable for a fine of up to $500,000.

While businesses should pay attention to this requirement, it is also up to the responsibility of the consumer to check that any terms and conditions you sign up for do detail the agreement into signing up for their database.

"If you're giving over your email address, perhaps you're online, whether you're buying an appliance and they say, hey, we'll send you your warranty, your receipt or something like that, that's fine. If you don't specifically consent to receiving kind of commercial emails, then yeah, they can be in breach of that act."

A business can also be prosecuted if a consumer isn't able to succesfully unsubscriber from their database list.

"I would ask a couple of those companies that are emailing you, 'How did you get my email address' if you can't recall giving it to them," Jon advises.

"You do have the right to request that information under the policy. So give it a go if you're up for it."

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