Is it OK to fix an email address?

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Level 8

Is it OK to fix an email address?

If I see an email address that has an obvious error, do I have the right to fix that error and opt-in the email address? How would other countries respond to this? For example, if I see a record with an email of first.last@company.cim, do I have the legal right to correct that to .com? Can I imply that the person made a typo and not that the person purposely entered a bad email address so as to not be contacted?

6 REPLIES 6
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Level 10 - Champion Alumni

Re: Is it OK to fix an email address?

Did you ask Counsel?

I usually just fix the typo unless there are downstream implications.

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Level 8

Re: Is it OK to fix an email address?

I'm thinking about it from a GDPR perspective.

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Re: Is it OK to fix an email address?

Hi Robb,

If you are complying to the double opt-in standard, and you fix the email address, 2 possibilities:

  • The person never received the opt-in conformation email and never confirmed the opt-in. In this case, you can only send her operational emails, unless she is a client.
  • The wrong email address did not hard bounce: someone else received the opt-in confirmation email and confirmed it. This is a very unlikely risk, but not null (remember one of the IT consequences of Murphy's law: every thing that can happen will happen ). In this case, you are in violation of the law, since you have got an opt-in from the wrong person.

If you are complying to the single opt-in or opt-out standards, I do not see any issue in fixing it: the person can easily opt-out anyway.

-Greg

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Level 8

Re: Is it OK to fix an email address?

I'm involved in a project for Germany where we have to do the double opt-in vs the parts of europe where the double opt is not mandatory.  My concern is over how this will be judged. Suppose someone purposely enters an bad email address either directly into my form or into a tradeshow that then passes that bad data on to me. I catch it and re-enter it, corrected. (For example, then ended their email address with .dx instead of .de). And now, a fresh record with no bounce on it exists in my database. I now send them the double-opt in email. Could this be used against my company in any legal way? I'm wondering if there are loopholes in this law where unscrupulous firms could try to draw other companies into violations.

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Level 10 - Champion Alumni

Re: Is it OK to fix an email address?

this really sounds like a Legal question you should pose to a lawyer.

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Level 8

Re: Is it OK to fix an email address?

Channelling it through my internal team but wanted to see if there was anyone knowledgeable about it already in here as I know we've never discussed it.