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Christmas – legal approval

Once again, Christmas is rapidly approaching.

As you consider how best to stuff your turkey, you might also turn your mind to sending some cheer to your customers and contacts, wishing them seasonal felicitations and all that.

Do you need express consent?

Privacy and spam laws often give business owners pause for thought when sending seemingly innocuous communications to their databases. 

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (which regulates privacy laws) has published a helpful guidance note to give business a clear answer on the ‘can I or can’t I?’ question.

In short, the answer is yes you can send seasonal cheer, provided it’s within the ‘reasonable expectations’ of those on your database. 

But that only applies to Christmas cards.

Want to spread seasonal joy via email?

Spam laws regulate the sending of commercial electronic messages, and you must have express consent before using someone’s personal information to send marketing and other communications by email.

Much like privacy law, consent can be inferred if the purpose of the email is in the individual’s ‘reasonable expectations’. 

Post script

I think it’s safe to assume that sending seasonal cheer via direct mail or email meets the ‘reasonable expectations’ test.

But the key is to avoid going overboard – send season’s greetings by all means, but don’t include a product catalogue or a stack of ads about your products with it. Unless you’ve got express consent to send marketing material.

A simple message is all that’s needed to spread some goodwill, keep your business front of mind with your database and ensure the privacy and spam regulators are happy.

And with that … Merry Christmas from all of us at KHQ Lawyers!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
David Kelly is the founder of KHQ Approved, which offers fixed fee solutions across a range of areas (including marketing law and contract review).  Peace of mind from an experienced team for a reasonable price.

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