Experian Fined $650K for Email Overstep FTC Cites CAN-SPAM Violation

experian fined 650k for email overstep ftc cites can spam violation.jpg Technology

In a striking blow to one of the leading credit information giants, Experian Consumer Services has been hit with a $650,000 civil penalty for allegedly flouting email marketing regulations. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) found the company in violation of the CAN-SPAM Act, a law designed to protect consumers from unwanted commercial emails, by not providing an option for recipients to unsubscribe from future mailings.

Experian, a company known for its credit information, marketing services, and analytical tools, found itself in hot water over a complaint filed by the U.S. District Court in central California. The complaint accused Experian of inundating consumers who set up free accounts with unsolicited emails sans an opt-out option. Allegedly, these emails masqueraded as account updates but were primarily commercial in nature, a practice that not only misleads consumers but also infringes upon their rights to control the marketing content they receive.

Experian Slapped with $650,000 Penalty for Spam Emails

Experian Consumer Services, a leading global information services company, was slapped with a $650,000 fine for allegedly bombarding consumers with commercial emails without offering an opt-out option. This ruling came from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which found that the company had violated the CAN-SPAM Act. This legislation mandates all companies or individuals sending out commercial emails to provide consumers with the option to unsubscribe.

The Nature of Experian’s Offense

Experian is well-known for its credit information, marketing services, and analytics tools. However, the U.S. District Court in central California has filed a complaint stating that the company overwhelmed individuals who set up a free account with unsolicited emails, without providing an unsubscribe option.

These emails were reportedly framed as containing crucial information. However, the content was often promotional, suggesting consumers use Experian’s service to boost their credit score, or offering a “Dark Web Scan.” Critically, these emails were commercial, contrary to their alleged focus on consumer account updates.

Deceptive practices in Emails

The complaint highlighted that numerous consumers received “confirm your car” emails about vehicles they had no connection with. Furthermore, it was alleged that Experian did not allow these consumers to remove the vehicles without sharing personal information with third-party marketers.

The emails displayed a misleading message at the bottom: “This is not a marketing email.” They instead falsely claimed to be account status updates. There was no option to unsubscribe from all Experian emails, only to “update some alerts and communications preferences.”

Prevent spam with temporary email

To prevent spam, you can use a temporary email address instead of your real one when you sign up for online services, newsletters, or promotions. A temporary email address is a disposable and anonymous email address that expires after a certain period of time or after you delete it. Here are some benefits and tips on how to use a temporary email address to avoid spam.

Court’s Ruling and FTC’s Stance

The court’s ruling asserted that Experian had engaged in deceptive and unfair acts, violating the CAN-SPAM Act. It prohibited Experian from sending such messages to consumers, and in addition to the substantial fine, required the company to include a clear opt-out option in its marketing emails.

FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection Director Samuel Levine emphasized, “Signing up for a membership doesn’t mean you’re signing up for unwanted email… You always have the right to unsubscribe from marketing messages, and the FTC takes enforcing that right seriously.”

Experian, has yet to respond to this ruling.


The FTC’s ruling serves as a stern reminder to all companies about the importance of consumer rights in digital communication. The hefty penalty underlines the seriousness of violating the CAN-SPAM Act, and stresses the necessity for companies to respect their customers’ privacy and preferences. As consumers, it’s crucial to be aware of our rights and to demand respectful and ethical communication from service providers.

Crive - News that matters