Today, the Maritime and Commercial Court of Copenhagen rendered a decision on the cost of distributing somewhere between 7,650 and 15,300 advertising letters by fax without the recipient's consent. The fine amounted to DKK 400,000.
The case, which was conducted by the Danish Consumer Ombudsman, had been brought against the company, Aircom Erhverv ApS, a dealer in the 'Teleringen' specialist mobile communications chain. The court held that the company had violated section 6(a) of the Danish Marketing Practices Act, which precisely prohibits the distribution of advertising letters via, say, e-mail and telefax, without the recipients' consent.
During the hearing of the case, the Consumer Ombudsman pointed out that the ombudsman agency wanted a uniform and more stringent practice for violations of the Danish Marketing Practices Acct. Consequently, the Consumer Ombudsman proposed the following calculation model for determining the fine for violating section 6a of the Danish Marketing Practices Act, regardless of whether the unsolicited message reaches you by fax, SMS or e-mail:
A minimum fine of DKK 10,000 for 100 instances of violation or less. A DKK 100 fine for each instance of violation in excess of 100 violations. Thus, the fine for 60 instances of violation would be DKK 10,000, and for 140 instances a fine of DKK 14,000.
It appears from the legal reasoning for the court's decision that the court agreed on the proposed calculation model. In addition, in the case at hand, the court moreover took into account:
- the number of unsolicited advertising letters;
- the nuisance and the financial damage inflicted on the recipients as a result of receiving the letters;
- the available information about Aircom's circumstances; and
- the number of complaints received by the Consumer Ombudsman.
"We are extremely satisfied with the unambiguous decision, which provides excellent guidelines for future rulings by the courts in dealing with the spam problem", says Hagen Jørgensen, the Consumer Ombudsman.
You can complain against unsolicited electronic advertising letters and messages by sending a mail to the Consumer Ombudsman's spam address, email@example.com (for more details, go to www.net-tjek.dk).
"One precondition for the fine being higher in other cases is that people uses this address and make us aware of the unsolicited advertising letters and messages", says the Consumer Ombudsman.