Does the POPI Act Affect Sending Emails to your Clients?


The yes or no about sending an email

As we all know, with new rules come new limitations.  With these limitations comes the fear of pressing the SEND button. But, do we need to be wary or do we simply need to be aware!

The straightforward answer is regarding sending emails – BE AWARE!

Must we change the way we communicate with our clients?

Emails are a standard modus of communication for any business. Therefore, sending messages to relay various information is a common practice, and when private and confidential information is not be shared with other parties, you are well within your rights.

The main difference comes into play because of how businesses market themselves, not how they communicate. This will be impacted by the Protection of Personal Information Act (Popi Act) which came into effect on July 1. Under the act, marketers face the prospect of a cookie-less future as the protection of personal information becomes increasingly pertinent.

No is no! Accept that the first time!

Section 69 of the Act outlaws direct marketing using any form of electronic communication unless the receiver has given their consent. Such electronic communication includes emails, SMSs and automatic calling machines. Once authorisation to send has been declined, the sender may not request permission to send again.

There are consequences to not complying

Most businesses are affected by the government implementing the new act, particularly banks, insurance companies, hospitals, and medical aids. This is because they have access to identity numbers and other information like addresses and banking details.

If you fail to comply with the POPI Act, whether intentional or accidental, you can be liable for an administrative fine of up to R10 million. Furthermore, if a data breach impacts your clients, POPIA even empowers them to take civil action for damages.

No longer is the adage ‘’ask for forgiveness over permission’’ true. Now, more than ever, permission over forgiveness is pertinent!

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We look forward to welcoming you into the Complete IT Business Solutions family.