Understanding New Zealand's anti-spam legislation

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Learn about New Zealand’s anti-spam legislation and its message requirements for SMS.

In New Zealand, the sending of SMS and email marketing messages is regulated by the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007 (UEMA). This legislation was designed to protect people from receiving spam or “unsolicited commercial electronic messages.” 

It applies to the sending of commercial electronic messages and governs who you can send messages to and what information those messages need to include. 

This information is not legal advice. Klaviyo recommends that you obtain independent legal advice to make sure that you comply with all applicable legislation in connection with your marketing program.

About New Zealand’s anti-spam legislation and regulations

A commercial electronic message (CEM) is any non-transactional message that markets or promotes goods, services or a business. 

New Zealand’s anti-spam legislation, UEMA, regulates the sending of any CEMs, including email and SMS.

The 3 main requirements under UEMA for sending CEMs are: 

  • Obtain proper consent
  • Provide identification information and contact details
  • Include a method to unsubscribe/opt out of messaging

What is consent under New Zealand anti-spam legislation?

There are 2 types of consent: express and inferred. UEMA generally requires express consent, which means someone must directly opt-in to receive marketing messages from your organization.

As a best practice, you should keep records of when you get consent, including the:

  • Type of consent
  • Consent method
  • Date/time an individual consented

When someone signs up via a form, Klaviyo records all of this information automatically on the profile. Further, you can import this information from another provider and Klaviyo will save it. 

Express consent

Express, also called explicit, consent is when someone directly opts-in to receive marketing messages via a certain channel. This means that you cannot send someone a CEM before they expressly opt-in. 

When someone consents to receive one type of CEM, this does not count as permission to send them any other type of CEM. For instance, if you have someone’s consent for email, you can only send them emails. It does not count as permission to send SMS.

There are several ways someone can give you their express consent, including: 

  • Signing up via a form
  • Checking a box on a website

For example, opt-in boxes are an effective way of allowing someone to provide express consent by selecting the box. These boxes should be accompanied by a clear statement explaining what type of CEM the individual will receive and what that CEM will relate to.

Example of checkbox to subscribe to SMS marketing with disclosure language

It is also recommended to have double opt-in enabled as part of the opt-in process, which requires the individual providing consent to confirm their subscription.

Inferred consent

Inferred, also called implicit, consent is permissible in limited scenarios. This type of consent may apply when someone has knowingly and directly given you their information, and it is reasonable to believe they would expect to receive marketing messages from your business. Consent cannot be inferred from a single purchase from your business or from an abandoned cart. 

Inferred consent is challenging to prove and is not recommended. We recommend using express consent in all cases. 

Message requirements under New Zealand's anti-spam legislation 

In addition to obtaining the proper consent, UEMA requires that you include the following information in every CEM: 

  • Your sender information
    • CEMs must clearly and accurately identify the individual or organization sending the message
    • If someone else sends messages on your behalf, the CEM must still identify you as the business that authorized the message
    • This information must remain correct for at least 30 days after you send your message
  • Include contact details for your business or a link to your business’s contact details
  • An opt-out mechanism (e.g., STOP keyword) that:
    • Presents unsubscribe instructions clearly
    • Actions the request to unsubscribe within 5 working days
    • Does not require the payment of a fee
    • Does not cost more than the usual amount for using the address (such as a standard text charge) 
    • Is functional for at least 30 days after you send the message
    • Allows subscribers to unsubscribe through the original method of communication 

By default, every text message in Klaviyo going to a New Zealand recipient will include an organizational prefix, contact details, and opt-out instructions so recipients can easily identify your brand and unsubscribe if necessary.

Best practices

While not explicitly required by UEMA, the following are best practices for sending CEMs in New Zealand:

  • When obtaining consent, enable double opt-in
  • Do not contact end users on do-not-call or do-not-disturb registries
  • Inform recipients of any charges associated with a CTA if applicable
  • Send messages between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. in the recipients’ local time (for SMS and direct messages); use quiet hours for flows to automatically prevent sending SMS outside of these times
  • Do not use common spam-related phrases in your messages or email subject lines; e.g., “free money”
  • Every CEM should be helpful to the recipient; if not, subscribers will likely opt out
  • Avoid sending a lot of emojis and using acronyms unless you know your audience understands or responds positively to them
  • Do not overload recipients with too many messages; for instance, use Smart Sending to limit how often someone can receive messages via a certain channel

Sending to recipients in New Zealand using Klaviyo

When sending to recipients in New Zealand using Klaviyo, it’s important that you also comply with Klaviyo’s Terms of Service and Acceptable Use Policy, which, in certain cases, may be more strict than UEMA requirements. 

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