Spam: Don't get caught in the trap

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Businesses were given a big reminder of the importance of knowing New Zealand’s spam laws, after an Australian businessman, Wayne Mansfield, was fined $95,000 in Auckland.

Mansfield sent close to one million spam emails to New Zealanders after buying addresses from a data company, according to the New Zealand Herald.

Mansfield was spruiking his business seminars over two months, sending unsolicited messages to more than 80,000 email addresses.

Martin Cocker, executive director of NetSafe New Zealand said: “The law governing spam is called the 'Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007'. The DIA who enforces the law has information available on its website.

“It summarises the responsibilities under: consent, identify, and unsubscribe. Basically you need to have an existing relationship, you need to be honest about who you are, and you need to give people the option to opt out of further messages. Only the first part can really cause much confusion because consent can be inferred, deemed, or express.”


To stay out of trouble, Cocker recommends businesses read the DIA’s guide.

When it’s not spam

The Act provides the following messages between organisations and clients/customers are not commercial electronic messages (spam):

* Responses to a request for a quote or estimate

* Messages that facilitate, complete or confirm a commercial transaction that the recipient previously agreed to

* Warranty information, product recalls and safety and security information about goods or services used or purchased by the recipient

* Factual information about a subscription, membership, account, loan or similar ongoing relationship

* Information directly related to employment or a related benefit plan in which the recipient is currently involved

* Delivers goods and services that the recipient is entitled to receive under the terms of a previous transaction.

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