WASHINGTON-CUNA and NAFCU have written the Federal Trade Commission recommending modifications to its proposal implementing the 2003 Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (CAN-SPAM) Act. The CAN-SPAM Act requires that commercial e-mail messages clearly and conspicuously designate it as such, provide recipients an opportunity to “opt-out,” and provide the sender’s physical and electronic address. While NAFCU felt compliance with an opt-out within three days instead of 10 was acceptable, CUNA said that lessening the time to three days is not necessary. “Some smaller financial institutions, including credit unions, may not be able to meet the three-day deadline, and this could be of particular concern for those that rely on third party vendors to update their databases,” CUNA’s letter read. However, NAFCU said allowances should be made for technical difficulties. CUNA added that post office boxes and commercial mail drops should not be acceptable physical addresses. The trade association also wrote that debt collection e-mails should be covered under the “transactional or relationship” exception to the CAN-SPAM Act requirements and that the requirements should apply to e-mails sent to consumers whose membership has lapsed after a reasonable amount of time has lapsed. NAFCU recommended that examples illustrating transactions that are exempt from opt-outs should be included and provided its own examples. “For instance, NAFCU believes that a message sent by a third party on behalf of a credit union that has entered into an existing agreement with a member should be considered a transactional message and should be outlined in the rule,” the group wrote. “Credit unions are membership organizations with the goal of improving members’ financial wellbeing; new products should be able to be offered by a third party affiliate without triggering the opt-out requirements of the Act if the member has agreed to receive such solicitations.” Finally, CUNA said that senders of commercial e-mails “may, but should not be required to, honor opt-out requests indefinitely.” The organization wrote, “Although we believe any credit union sending commercial e-mails may choose to honor such requests indefinitely, we believe the FTC should adopt a time period, such as five years.” Finally, CUNA asked the FTC to state outright that newsletters from membership organizations should not fall under the CAN-SPAM Act requirements.

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