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What Everyone Should Know About Internet And Non-Traditional Advertising

Jul 3, 2008
As new consumer technologies evolve some businesses see potential new opportunities, but most consumers see new nuisances. Some of the least liked elements of our society that are regularly experienced by consumers are unwanted door to door, telephone solicitations, junk Email, Fax Advertising, and Cellphone advertising.

Fortunately the telemarketing problem has been alleviated by the do not call lists to where consumers can register and therefore drastically cut the number of unwanted phone calls. For some businesses this meant a substantial cut in sales and leads, but for many consumers it also meant great relief.

Even though there has been a substantial decrease in phone and door to door sales sales solicitations, they are still in use and regulated. In California door to door and telephonic sales require that certain affirmative disclosures be made regarding the identity and purpose of the solicitation. It is unlawful to solicit sale or order of goods or services at the home of a prospective buyer, either in person or by telephone unless the person properly identifies himself or herself. The person making the solicitation is not only required to identify himself or herself and must state the name of the entity. When it is an in-person solicitation the solicitor must also show his or her name and the name of the organization as well as the address of the organization.

When it comes to internet advertising California imposes the same rules as it does for traditional media, such as bait and switch and misleading advertising rules and regulations. California law also prohibits spamming if the internet provide is located in California and the internet provider does not permit spamming from its servers. California law also prohibits spamming to California Email address regardless of where the server is located. The only exceptions are if the resident directly consented to receive e-mail advertisements or had a preexisting or current business relationship with the advertiser. Sending out unsolicited Emails can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor. The recipient of the unsolicited Email can sue for actual damages. The recipient can also sue for liquidated damages of up to $1,000 per transmitted message and up to $1,000,000 per incident. So a recipient can sue for $1 million if the recipient receives the same junk email 1,000 times or more.

All Email spamming in the United States is also subject to regulation under federal law. Federal places very specific restrictions and likewise prohibits spamming. If the recipient files suit and is successful the recipient is entitled to recover his or her costs plus attorney fees. The Federal Statutes specifically provide for regulation by FTC that is in addition to and not instead of the Federal laws.

California also prohibits a person or business entity located in California from transmitting advertisements through text messaging advertisements to a cell phone or a pager equipped with messaging or similar capability.

Fax advertising was extremely prevalent and filled the waste baskets of many a business and home. As a result specific statutes were enacted at the Federal and State level. Fax advertising is prohibited unless an exception applies which is consent to receive the advertisement or established business relationship. As such certain industries such as the mortgage industry needs to carefully monitor the sending of unsolicited advertising by fax.

This is just an overview of the many laws that regulate advertising and sales by new technologies.
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