When is mass sending allowed?
From 1 April 2007, under Swiss law (art. 3 letter o of the Law on Unfair Competition), automatic mass transmission of advertising by e-mail, SMS, fax or telephone is allowed only if recipients have explicitly given their consent (the opt-in system). Mass advertising may therefore be sent only with your agreement. There is one exception: if you have given the seller your address when making a purchase, they may send you advertising for products of the same type.
The sender must be named. It may be the sender or its principal; a person must be clearly designated. It is forbidden to conceal the sender.
For every message you must have an easy, free-of-charge option to refuse future messages. The sender must inform you of this.
In the case of telephone canvassing, the conversation must always be conducted by a person, even if your number is dialled automatically. It is not permitted for a machine to call you and then hang up because no call centre operative is available. Canvassing using tape recordings is also banned.
An asterisk in the telephone directory
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Telephone canvassing if you are speaking to a person is not spam. However, you have the right to be clearly identified in the telephone directories if you do not wish to receive telephone canvassing from third parties and to insist that your data is not passed on for purposes of direct canvassing (article 88 Telecommunications Services Ordinance). Anyone who ignores this mark (the "asterisk entry") is not acting in good faith (article 3 letter u Unfair Competition Act).
By the way: advertising which is delivered to you together with content which you have requested, e.g. on internet pages or on the television, is not spam.