In addition to the settlement payment, Gap has promised to change the way it markets to its customers.
The CRTC issued a warning letter to Gap in December 2018 after receiving numerous complaints from Canadians regarding its “electronic messaging practices.” Despite the warning, complaints continued flooding in, leading the CRTC to open up a formal investigation into Gap’s CASL compliance in June 2021.
The investigation concluded that between January 2018 and August 2021, Gap sent electronic messages to its customers without their proper consent. Many of the messages also lacked an accessible unsubscribe feature.
The CRTC commented that Gap was cooperative and prompt in amending its marketing practices to be compliant.
CASL protects Canadians
Since coming into effect on July 1, 2014, the Canadian Anti-Spam Law has set rigid criteria around how companies can contact their customers and how they obtain consent. Enforced by the Competition Bureau, CRTC, and the Privacy Commissioner, violations of CASL can result in up to a $1 million fine for individuals and up to $10 million for corporations, per violation.
Additionally, corporate directors can be found to be liable for their organization’s CASL breaches. Such was the case with Brian Conely, chief executive officer of nCrowd, who was fined $100,000 for CASL violations in 2019.
In March 2021, the CRTC fined Scott William Brewer $75,000 for conducting multiple hailstorm spam email campaigns, sending over 670,000 emails without the consent of the recipients.
Other historic offenders include Canada’s Big Three telcos, PlentyOfFish, Kelloggs and many others.
Between April and September 2021, the CRTC received over 154,000 complaints to the Spam Reporting Centre, an 8 per cent increase over the previous six months. A whopping 88 per cent of complaints were about the lack of consent.
The CRTC recommends reporting concerns via the Canada Spam Reporting Centre.