According to a new poll, carelessness in Canada’s Anti Spam Legislation (CASL) compliance may be a ticking time-bomb for Canadian businesses. Companies need to carefully review customer communications ensuring they are compliant with CASL or they run a serious risk of lawsuits.  The poll revealed Canadians may be far more litigious than expected, with more than half reporting that they would consider joining class action lawsuits for spam violations. The poll was conducted for itracMARKETER, a Toronto-based email marketing, automation, and CASL compliance software-as-a-service application provider which regularly counsels Canadian companies on their communications strategies and CASL compliance.

Key Findings of the Poll:

54% of Canadians would consider legal action under CASL laws:
Asked how likely they are to participate in a class action lawsuit against a corporation for violating anti-spam laws:

  • 9% of Canadians said ‘very likely’
  • 7% said ‘likely’
  • 8% replied ‘somewhat likely’ – Showing the total number of Canadians considering legal action for CASL violations is 54.4%.

2) CASL has yet to kick-in:
Asked if they’ve received less spam since CASL came into effect:

  • 5% of Canadians said they are getting ‘the same amount of spam.’
  • 4% reported ‘no’
    Showing that 58.9% of Canadians have not received less spam with CASL laws in effect. 5.4% even reported they are getting ‘more spam’

 3) Regardless of the new CASL legislation, spam is still frustrating Canadian consumers:
Asked if spam marketing is a major frustration to them in their daily life:

  • 0% disagreed
  • 3% strongly agreed
  • 3% somewhat agreed

4) Canadians rate retailers as the worst spam offenders:

Asked what legitimate industries are the worst spam email offenders, Canadians singled out:

  • Retailers -38.1%
  • Group Buy Sites – 34.1%
  • Travel – 30.3%
  • Surprisingly, restaurants ranked lowest on the scale with 9%.

5) Canadians find email spam only slightly less annoying than unsolicited phone calls:

Asked the three forms of spam they find the most offensive, Canadians called out:
1) Unsolicited calls 59.8%
2) Spam emails 49.1%
3) Misleading advertising 38.9%

Profile of a CASL Plaintiff

The survey also provided interesting insights into identifying the Canadians most likely to sue over spamming:

a) Suing is for the young
The survey shows that age impacts the likeliness to sue.
Only 38.7% of 18-24 year olds and 38.3% of 35-44 year olds would choose ‘not to participate’ in a CASL lawsuit vs. 55.3% of 45-54 year olds and 58.6% of 55-64 year olds.

b) Less Money, Less Likely
The survey found that Canadians earning more money ($50-74k) were more likely (44.5%) to sue than 4% of Canadians making ($25-49k)

c) Likely live in BC or Atlantic Canada

BC: The province showed itself to be the most litigious in Canada with 18.5% saying they would be ‘very likely,’ 9.7% ‘likely’ and 30.4 ‘somewhat likely’ to sue under CASL laws. This gives a total of 58.6% who would consider legal action.

Atlantic Canada: Maritimers responded with 14.9% ‘very likely,’ 9.0% ‘likely’ and 27.4% ‘somewhat likely’ to sue corporations. Atlantic Canada takes second place with 51.3% for Canadians who would consider legal action

Quebec: The province was found least likely to sue as 50.1% of Quebecers said they would ‘not participate’ in a lawsuit.

“We were shocked to see over half of Canadians would consider legal action under new CASL laws,” said Steve Vermeiren, V.P

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. Customer Success and Marketing at itracMARKETER. “There has always been a small number of people who file frivolous lawsuits in the hopes of grabbing a few dollars, but these numbers show that a majority of regular Canadians are frustrated enough with spam that they would consider legal action, and that is a far greater threat to Canadian businesses who are not CASL compliant.”

The assignment of fines under the new CASL law is just getting started, but according to the legislation they could be as high as $10 million dollars, which could be damaging or ruinous to some businesses.  Under the legislation, Canadians will be in a position to file lawsuits against businesses for CASL violations when the CASL transitional period ends on July 1, 2017.

“We find about 80 per cent of the companies we consult have confidence that they are CASL compliant, when they are not,” said Vermeiren. “Although most businesses made changes to their email communication processes when the CASL laws were first introduced (July 2014,) they have allowed things to slide and simply aren’t prepared for the full impact of the legislation.  July 1, 2017 is a hard line in the sand, but the good news is businesses still have time to correct their CASL compliance issues. “

itracMARKETER identifies the top CASL mistakes Canadian businesses make as:

  • Businesses don’t collect and manage customer emails permissions properly through online webforms and other sources.
  • Businesses don’t properly manage the expiry date for email addresses.
  • Business don’t recognize that B2B email communications are subject to the same CASL rules as consumer emails and the information is often managed by different departments who do not collaborate.
Poll Methodology:
The poll was conducted through Google Surveys during the week of August 25, 2015. 1000 responses were obtained for each question across the general Canadian national population.

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