Consumers must be given notice and a reasonable opportunity and reasonable method to opt-out of receiving solicitations. If a consumer opts-out, companies and any affiliates covered by the opt-out provision are prohibited from making solicitations for marketing purposes to the consumer.
Here are some general rules regarding the scope and form of opt-out notices:
- Opt-out provisions have a minimum duration of 5 years and may be longer, including an opt-out that does not expire unless revoked by the consumer. The duration of an opt-out begins to run after the company and its affiliates have implemented the opt-out selection, which must be done within a reasonable time after the company receives notice of the selection.
- An opt-out expires if the consumer revokes the opt-out in writing or, if the consumer has previously agreed, electronically. Oral revocation of an opt-out is insufficient.
- The duration of an opt-out is not affected by the termination of a continuing relationship. The opt-out remains in effect for the duration of the opt-out period even if the consumer terminates the continuing relationship. If the consumer begins a new continuing relationship with the company, the opt-out period remains effective for information obtained in connection with the terminated relationship.
- If a company increases the duration of the opt-out period that it had previously disclosed or elects to honor the opt-out in perpetuity, the company has no obligation to provide a revised notice to the consumer.
- Opt-out notices must identify by name the affiliate that is providing the notice. If a notice is provided jointly by multiple affiliates, they must be identified by their common name, e.g., “The ABC Companies.” If the affiliates lack a common name, the notice must identify each affiliate.
- Consumers may be given a menu of choices to determine the extent to which they want to opt-out of receiving solicitations. For example, an opt-out notice may allow consumers to prohibit solicitations from credit and loan affiliates but allow solicitations by insurance affiliates. Similarly, the opt-out selection may allow consumers to opt-out based on types of eligibility information or by methods of delivery. Regardless of the opt-out choices, companies must give consumers an opportunity to prohibit all solicitations from all of the affiliates covered by the notice.
- The opt-out notice must state: the types of eligibility information that may be used to make solicitations to the consumer; that the consumer may elect to limit the use of the information to make solicitations; that the consumer’s selection to limit the information will apply for a specified period of time stated in the notice and, if applicable, that the consumer can renew the election after that time expires.
- If a consumer establishes a new continuing relationship with a company or any of its affiliates after the termination of all prior continuing relationships with that person and its affiliates, the consumer is given a fresh start and must be given a new opt-out notice. The new opt-out must cover the information obtained during the new relationship and may extend to certain information obtained during the old relationship. If the consumer fails to opt-out in the new relationship, that failure does not override a prior opt-out election with respect to eligibility information obtained in the old relationship even if the new opt-out opportunity applies to such information as well.