What is the Belgian opt-in law?

Through the Belgian Royal Decree of 4th April 2003, companies are prohibited from sending commercial mailings e.g. via email (or SMS) if the addressee has not given its prior express authorisation for receiving such mailings.

If no such consent is given, such mailings are considered as “spam” which could expose the company to fines and payment of damages.

Three main obligations

1. Prior consent

The addressee of the commercial email needs to give its prior consent for receiving them, i.e. when his personal information is gathered for the first time.

The authorisation needs to be explicit and informed, e.g. check a box.
The consumer has a right to object to the use of his information for commercial mailings.

There are two main exceptions:
1. You are allowed to send commercial email without prior consent to those contacts who already are your clients AND if the type of product offered is the same as the type of product/service bought.
2. Generic addresses (info@emailgarage.com; sales@; hr@) can be used at any time to send commercial email to.

2. Information

Each commercial emailing needs to be clearly identified as being « publicity » and identify who sends the mailing (you may not hide this information, nor use the identity of a third party).

3. Unsubscribe

Each addressee needs to be informed that at all times he can object easily and at no cost to any further mailings (e.g. via email, via a hyperlink, website).

Tip: before sending out email to clients who haven’t given their explicit permission, run their email addresses against the e-robinsonlist.

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  1. […] to pick up an unsubscribe link in their commercial emails. (Read all about this in the article: ‘What is the Belgian opt-in law’). Most commercial emails include a toplink as well. Those who are having troubles reading the […]

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