Beginning May 1, 2015, companies will no longer be able to send commercial messages via email, text message (sms), fax or autodial machines (robocalls) to consumers without their prior approval. Companies that send commercial messages regularly can still obtain consumers’ approval by the May 1 deadline, when the new E-Commerce Law comes into effect, and avoid any disruption to their messaging activities.

In addition to the prior approval obligation, companies must observe new rules for commercial messages:

  • The content of commercial messages must be in line with the approval given. The message must also include: (i) the sender's identity; (ii) the sender's telephone number/fax number/sms number/email, depending on the electronic method of communication used; (iii) the subject and purpose of the message; and (iv) information on the actual sender, if the message is sent on behalf of another entity.  
  • If a commercial message relates to a promotional activity (e.g., offers a discount or gift, or is related to a contest), the sender must provide an easy way to access the terms of the activity.
  • As consumers always have the right to opt-out of receiving commercial messages, the sender must provide the consumer an easy and free-of-charge opportunity to revoke prior approval; details of this opportunity must be contained in the message.

The prior approval obligation will not apply to B2B relationships, and commercial messages can still be sent to businesses without their prior approval.

A regulation is expected to be issued to clarify vague points in the E-Commerce Law and determine its application principles and procedures.