When deciding which consumer protection issues to look into, the DCO seeks out issues whose solution will benefit the collective interests of consumers. So when he assesses whether an enquiry should lead to further investigation, he stresses:
- The relevancy of the complaint, i.e. does the core of the problem constitute a real nuisance to many consumers, and has it resulted in many complaints;
- The gravity of the case for the individual consumer;
- The generality of the problem, i.e. whether the problem cuts across different trades or sectors.
While we may have to prioritise when it comes to initiate proceedings and investigations, we always endeavour to provide complainants with a useful answer. All complaints add to the general picture and help us decide where to concentrate our efforts.
How to complain over spam
In Denmark, complaints over electronic spam (email, text messages, MMS etc.) are lodged with the Consumer Ombudsman.
Section 6 of the Danish Marketing Practices Act makes it an offence to distribute commercial messages via fax, email or any other electronic technology to anyone, whether consumer, trader, public authority or something else without prior consent. In order to ensure that business and trade comply with the act, we examine the complaints submitted over unsolicited commercial communication on a continuous basis.
We receive somewhere between 500 and 1,000 complaints over domestic spam every month, and some of these complaints lead to further investigation of traders who breach the act. The many complaints help us take measures against the most flagrant offences.
This means that even if your complaint does not prompt us to take action at the moment, it does provide us with an overview as to where our resources are best spent; that is, you help us make sure that DCO resources are invested in activities and investigations that will benefit as many consumers as possible.
How we can help
While we are often able to track down and prosecute Danish traders who use spam as an easy marketing trick, things become more problematic when dealing with spam emanating from abroad. This applies to fraudulent spam in particular – the so-called scams. The senders are apt at hiding their identity.
However, if the email comes from a trader resident in the EU or the other Nordic countries, the DCO is more often able to help due to the existence of cooperation agreements and harmonised EU legislation.
Where and how to send your complaint
The DCO has created two spam mail boxes to which we kindly ask you to forward your complaint. If you receive bulk mail from Danish spammers, you can use firstname.lastname@example.org whereas foreign spam should be sent to email@example.com.
Ask yourself three questions before you send your complaint:
• Was the email sent by a private enterprise, i.e. a trader, company or business? Emails sent by private persons, political organisations etc. are not unlawful
• Is the email really unsolicited or did I consent to receiving commercial messages from this trader?
• Is the objective behind the email to advertise something? Only emails whose contents are commercial are unlawful
Attach the email in question to your electronic complaint. Once forwarded, you will receive an automatic email reply which contains a link to a small questionnaire about the spam you have received (in Danish only). We kindly ask you to fill in the questionnaire if possible.
Complaints about emails from the USA can be submitted to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) via firstname.lastname@example.org
Other electronic commercial enquiries
- SMS/MMS: If you wish to complain over an unsolicited text message, you are welcome to submit the message via email if you can – check with your telecom service provider. Otherwise make an exact transcript of the message and inform us of the name of the sender along with date and time of reception.You can send it to dansk@spamklage if your complaint relates to a Danish sender or email@example.com if you wish to complain over electronic messages from a foreign sender. Once forwarded, you will receive an automatic email reply which contains a link to a small questionnaire about the spam you have received (in Danish only). We kindly ask you to fill in the questionnaire if possible.
- Fax: Make a scan of the fax along with the details on when you received the fax and from whom. Attach the scan to an email and forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org if your complaint relates to a Danish sender or email@example.com if you wish to complain over a fax from a foreign sender. Once forwarded, you will receive an automatic email reply which contains a link to a small questionnaire about the spam you have received (in Danish only). We kindly ask you to fill in the questionnaire if possible.
I do not understand Danish
You may send your complaint regarding eletronic or other unsolicited commercial enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org