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A number of practical steps for meeting the E-Sign consent requirements discussed at a recent FTC hearing include: � Limit communications platforms to those in widest use for easier implementation and maintenance. E-Sign creates no obligation to support every possible electronic delivery format, Web browser and e-mail protocol — or any, for that matter. Use paper notices for back-up communication if necessary. � Provide consumers with a reasonable number of alternatives to obtain information, provided each creates a sufficient audit trail. For example, if the business provides the information via Web site, include access to graphical and text-only forms and frame-enabled and no-frame versions. If e-mail attachments use specific formats, e.g., PDF, provide links to downloads of free reader software. Have the cover e-mail include instructions for obtaining paper copies if the consumer cannot access the available electronic versions. � Use the same format for consent requests and legally required information. For example, if transmitting information via e-mail, transmit the consent form via e-mail as well, rather than by an alternate electronic means such as a Web site. If legally mandated information will occupy e-mail attachments, send the consent the same way. Thus, any consent received from the consumer will “reasonably demonstrate” that the consumer can access information provided in that electronic format. � Take care when implementing new technology that is not compatible with the technologies your consenting consumers use to access and read legally required communications or that create a material risk such that they will be unable to read future communications from you. Provide consumers with ample notice of impending technology changes. Consider sending a test message to consumers to verify they are able to access and read information in the new format. Otherwise, obtain a new consent when technology changes. � Include appropriate mechanisms for recording when communications have been received and opened. Consider an acknowledgement mechanism similar to the “I Agree” buttons that must be activated to load software. � Don’t assume that the information has been delivered effectively until it has been opened or acknowledged or automatically acknowledged. If no acknowledgment is received with a specified period, send a paper copy. � As a matter of prudent business practice, businesses communicating by e-mail should periodically “sweep” their consumer e-mailing lists for stale (abandoned) addresses. Consumers with stale addresses should receive paper-based communications until a new consent can be obtained. � Include meaningful and prominently worded (i.e., all caps) subject lines in all electronic communications to encourage consumers to read/acknowledge receipt of the communication. � Notify consumers that junk mail filters may prevent important nonjunk electronic messages from getting through. Send test messages designed to allow consumers to test the effects of their filters on the business’s e-mails.

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