Our customer has asked for something I have doubts about.

They would like to communicate with some of their recipients with a message of transactional nature (e.g. something like an order confirmation or an informative email about their upcoming trip). This information needs to be sent to the user regardless of whether they have opted out of commercial emails from the customer. So it is possible that even if the people have opted out, they would still receive this message.

This is a European customer and CAN-SPAM, as well as all GDPR rules, should be applied.

Should these sends go under a new Send Classification? Does simply sending emails and SMS to people under a new Send Classification exempt us from overlooking the opt-out rules?

There will not be any links to the profile center and subscription center in these emails.

Is there any legal way of handling this problem?


Regarding Emails sends, you just need to create a new Send Classification and select Transactional as CAN-SPAM Classification. See image below.

Make sure you don't check the "Honor source and publication list level opt outs." checkbox as well. Doing so will ignore your subscribers status and send the email anyways.

enter image description here

As for SMS, there is nothing as Transactional SMS sends on MobileConnect. You need to implement the process by yourself. Check out this question/answer to get more information.

Keep in mind that you don't have to add the STOP keyword on your transactional SMS messages.

  • Right. I think we can start with the email and then figure out how to solve the same problem with SMS. But can we send an email to e.g. 20 000 people like normal commercial campaigns even if it is of Transactional classification? – Disasterkid Dec 11 '19 at 12:19
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    Yes, why should it be a problem? We use a dedicated Send Classification to Transactional emails everyday.. – Rachid Mamai Dec 11 '19 at 12:22
  • I was thinking maybe transactional sends should be performed on a 1-to-1 basis, like in a more trigger-based way e.g. order confirmation. – Disasterkid Dec 11 '19 at 12:25
  • No, it is really like a Commercial email sent through a Transactional Send Classification. It has nothing to do with the send type (triggered, user-initiated,..).. – Rachid Mamai Dec 11 '19 at 13:12
  • great! thank you for the answer. – Disasterkid Dec 11 '19 at 13:13

This is exactly the kind of scenario where you can utilize the standard Send Classification for Transactional Sends (for emails).

As long as the content of the Email corresponds to the requirements of a transactional send, there shouldn't be any showstoppers for you:

Transactional messages, per CAN-SPAM, are primarily emails that "facilitate, complete, or confirm a commercial transaction that the recipient has previously agreed to enter into with the sender." Per the FTC, to be considered "transactional" per CAN-SPAM, the subject line must be transactional in nature and non-promotional. Also, the email body must present the "transactional content" before the commercial content. For transactional messages, we do not check for the presence of an unsubscribe.

You'll need to leave the default setting on for Honor source and publication list level opt outs under the Transactional Sends classification. This way you can reach to unsubscribed contacts as well.

  • Regarding GDPR rules - there are scenarios to consider, for an example, you definitely may not contact customers who have requested to be deleted from your database or have said they do not want to recieve any sort of Emails from your organization.

  • Regarding Transactional SMS - technically same rules apply as on Email Sends, but there are no easy OOB features to manage this, currently everything still revolves around KEYWORD opt-in statuses.

There is a new Transactional Messaging API that supports MobileConnect SMS'es as well, so you may want to look into it before going the standard KEYWORD route though.

  • Re recipients who "have said they do not want to receive any sort of Emails from your organization" does that mean we are not allowed to send transactional emails, e.g. order confirmation, to people who have opted out of receiving commercial messages from the customer organization? – Disasterkid Dec 11 '19 at 12:32
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    No, this is a bit different group of people than those who have just opted out from commercial emails. In some cases some contacts will contact your helpdesk or data-protection team with a request to never recieve any emails from the organization again. This (in our case) means this email will be added to an Exclusion List to never send any messages again, including transactional ones. – Rain Dec 11 '19 at 12:45
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    Thank you very much for your answer. I had to choose the other answer who came before yours and was basically right, just like yours. I hope you don't mind. Your help is appreciated! – Disasterkid Dec 11 '19 at 13:15

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