Businesses not allowed to sell your email after you unsubscribe

The CAN-SPAM Act prohibits businesses that send commercial emails from selling email addresses after a person has requested to opt out of receiving future emails.

Billions of emails are sent and received by people around the world every day. Many of these emails are marketing promotions sent from various companies.

VERIFY Viewer Lynda says she gets a lot of these promotional emails. She asked our team in a text message if a business could sell a person’s email address after they unsubscribe from their mailing list.


Are businesses allowed to sell your email address after you unsubscribe from their mailing lists?



This is wrong.

No, businesses are not legally allowed to sell your email address after you unsubscribe from their mailing list.


The Offenses of Pornography and Unsolicited Marketing Act of 2003 — widely known as the CAN-SPAM Act — is a federal law that sets out rules for businesses to send email commercial market. It requires these emails to be identified as promotional and provides recipients with a method to opt-out of receiving any of these emails in the future. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), it also offers severe penalties for violations.

Under the CAN-SPAM Act, businesses are required to let recipients know how to opt out of receiving future emails from them. They are also prohibited from selling or transferring a person’s email address after they request to unsubscribe from receiving more emails. The FTC said the only exception to this rule is that a business can transfer the email addresses on its mailing list to a company it has hired to help them comply with the CAN-SPAM Act.

“After you enter your personal email [to opt out], the business has 10 business days from the time you enter to remove your email from their system. Andrew Sternke, chief executive officer and private investigator at Juris Disputes & Investigations, a Texas-based cybersecurity firm, said it was impossible to resell that particular email address to anyone else.

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But Sternke warns that businesses may have sold a person’s email address before they even submitted a opt-out request.

“This is basically self-regulation. Nothing says they didn’t sell your email before you opted out — they just can’t do that once you opt out,” Sternke told VERIFY.

The FTC says any commercial email sent from a business after a person has requested to unsubscribe from that business’s mailing list is a direct violation of the CAN-SPAM Act and may result in fines up to $46,517 per breach.

“If a consumer provides their email address (or any other personal information) to a business and that business shares that information after promising they will not share or use the information, that is different from the stated purpose, the company may face a possible enforcement action. from the FTC,” an FTC spokesperson told VERIFY.

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