The final provisions of the Deceptive Mail Prevention and Enforcement Act came into force across the USA on December 12 2000.
Who: US sweepstakes promoters
When: December 2000
This means that all those marketing sweepstakes (games of chance) must operate a process by which consumers can have their names removed from mailing lists. Details of the consumer's legal rights under the Act and of who to contact to arrange for a name to be removed from a mailing list must now be included in all mailings promoting sweepstakes. Names must be removed within 45 days after the request. Fines for transgressing these new rules can be up to $25000 for a non-compliant mailing of up to 50,000, up to $50,000 for a mailing of between 50,000 and 100,000 and $5000 for every 10,000 pieces thereafter up to a maximum of $1million.
Why this matters:
UK prize draw operators and marketers must ensure that they do not suffer the same fate as their US counterparts by not over-stating the chances of winning in promotion mailings. If there is any chance of their mailings being sent to a US recipient, moreover, special care should be taken to include the information required in this Act, particularly if the promoter has a presence or assets in the USA. Finally, don't believe it when they say data protection law doesn't exist in the US. This, the recent Children's On-Line Privacy legislation, looming e-mail marketing controls and numerous existing and threatened state laws mean that very soon the US will overhaul Europe in the data protection regulation stakes.