This article is not intended to be construed or interpreted as legal advice, and all clients and organizations should consult their own legal counsel on any disclosure requirements in their mail pieces.
The Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act has raised recent concern among direct mailers. We’ve been asked to share our understanding of the law.
Our current understanding is that most direct mail will not be impacted by this law, as the goal of this bill was to curb “fake final notices” (based on comments made by Sen. Rachel Ventura, the bill’s sponsor). Further, this law is applicable to “advertisements” as defined under the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Practices Act. The definition is limited to “publications… solicitation or circulation to induce… any person to enter into any obligation or… any interest in any merchandise and includes every work device to disguise any form of business solicitation by using such terms as
- ‘reminder’, or
- ‘Final Notice’
to create an impression of existing obligation when there is none, or other language to mislead any person in relation to any sought after commercial transaction.”
Since there is some ambiguity in the language that requires interpretation, clients are making their own decisions on how to proceed. Here are two examples:
- Client A is a Financial Services Company taking a cautious approach and printing, “This is Advertising Mail” on all Illinois mail in their file.
- Client B is an Insurance Provider that stated after some investigation by their legal team, they concluded the law does not apply to insurance.
So, we are recommending our clients make their own decision based on their interpretation of the law. But, if the mail piece does not include the above listed words to create an impression of existing obligation when there is none, then we believe the mail piece does not need the disclosure statement printed on the piece.
We will continue to review the situation and place updates and guidance here, in this article. Hopefully there will be a firm USPS statement on the matter.