Sears violates CAN-SPAM act

By | December 9, 2009

Today, I received a commercial email message from Sears Home Services, a.k.a., Sears Holdings Corporation.  They got my email address when I made a service appointment through their Web site, which I subsequently canceled when it became clear that they were going to charge me more than a local repair man.

The email message contained no instructions for opting out of future commercial email messages.  This is a clear and direct violation of the Federal CAN-SPAM act (see requirement 5 in The FTC’s CAN-SPAM Act Compliance Guide for Business).

Here’s what the privacy policy on their Web site says:

Can I “Opt-Out” of Receiving Promotional E-mails?

From time to time, we may send you e-mails with promotional offers if you opt-in to receiving such emails. If you would no longer like to receive e-mailed special event information, sales notifications or other promotional messages from this web site, you can unsubscribe from this site’s e-mail marketing list by following the unsubscribe link located at the bottom of each promotional e-mail. Your e-mail address will be removed from this site’s email marketing list within 10 days.

Therefore, in addition to violating the CAN-SPAM Act, they also violated their own published privacy policy.

Their Web site claims that registered users can edit settings on the site to tell Sears “whether you wish to receive e-mail about special sales, promotions and other events.”  So I registered on the site, using the same email address they spammed me on.  When I looked at my profile after registering, it said that I’m not subscribed to receive any email from them.  Nice!

There are no instructions in their privacy policy for how to notify them about violations.

I’ve submitted a complaint to the FTC as well as submitted a complaint to Sears through their Web site.  We’ll see what comes of it.

This is one of several reasons why I won’t be letting anyone from Sears into my house to repair my appliances.

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8 thoughts on “Sears violates CAN-SPAM act

  1. Chris

    I’ve had to finally just put all their emails directly to trash.
    I cannot get unsubscribed from them for over a year, each time I click unsubscribe go through all the trouble of checking the boxes for I don’t want any emails.

    Get one email from them almost every day.

  2. RB

    I live in Australia. My brother lives in another country in the South Pacific.
    He recently received a promotional email addressed to ME (at his email address) from Sears. WTF? How did they a) get his email address; b) know MY name to address the SPAM to…?

    (Could be a coincidence that the email was addressed to the wrong name (mine) but sent to his email address – and the ‘wrong’ name they used just ‘happened’ to be the same name as his little sister (me) – but that is very, very weird!)

    I have NEVER EVER purchased anything or made any inquiries with Sears. Even if I had registered my email address with them for whatever reason, I’d NEVER have used my brother’s email address…


    Can I follow this up from Australia. This is a MASSIVE breach of our Privacy laws and I am disgusted at these cheap and unsolicited marketing strategies used by a company I intend on NEVER having any contact with…

    Any suggestions from you guys who are having problems with Sears?

    1. jik Post author

      Maybe your brother ordered a gift for you from Sears at one point, so he put your name on the order but put his email address?

  3. chris

    Was given the number to call the sales department at 800 349 4358. Hopefully they will get me off these damn lists.

  4. Marty from Modesto

    I get the spam from Sears also and I don’t EVER do business with Sears. I keep reporting it as spam but they must change their email address slightly to get it by the spam filter.

    The only thing I can think of is to boycot Sears for doing this and I am sure that you can find your products cheaper and better made at other venues. The old kemore brand is just a re-named GE or other regular brand now. So there is really no reason to shop at Sears. Their tools now are cheap Chinese stuff too.

  5. Gary

    Thanks for your posting.

    Sears won’t “unsubscribe” me either. I have clicked on their “unsubscribe button” numerous times and on numerous days for over three weeks. NOTHING happens. They continue to send me daily e-mail ads.

    Any suggestions?


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