PlentyOfFish Media Inc. is a 75-employee Vancouver-based company that manages the popular free dating site Plenty of Fish, a destination with over 90M users.
Consent was not an issue
The facts compiled by the CRTC cover the period from July 1, 2014 (when CASL first came into effect) to October 8, 2014 (when the CRTC informed the company that it was subject to an investigation).
Over this period, the CRTC criticised Plentyoffish Media for not having a clear enough unsubscribe link and a form too complex to complete the process.
N.B.: The complaints received by the CRTC concerned emails sent to registered members of the site, and therefore to persons who had given their consent to receive them. So, consent was never an issue.
This fine is a case in point that even with consent as well as an unsubscribe link and form; businesses can still pay fines. One must be diligent. And PlentyOfFish showed their diligence by immediately paying their $48,000 fine and correcting the problem.
The CRTC makes its point clear
By giving a relatively small fine compared to the $1.1M one imposed at the beginning of the month to Compu-Finder, the CRTC is showing that it understands CASL, how to enforce it, and adjusts their fines based on the situation at hand.
It’s clear though, acting blindly in goodwill is not enough to avoid penalties.
In fact, as the CRTC stated in an Information Bulletin, that the only way to protect yourself against fines is to conduct a complete audit of your company and have a compliance policy which corrects those weaknesses identified by the audit.
If Plentyoffish had taken such action with Certimail or a consultant, they wouldn’t have had to pay this penalty and endure the bad-press that came with it.
And now what about you? Have you done an audit set up your program to avoid this kind of situation?