Jersey Post has found itself in a bit of hot water for what appears to be a breach of its bulk mail license. According to its license, the universal mail service provider must inform customers of pricing changes 21 days before those changes officially go into effect. An investigation conducted by the Jersey Competition Regulatory Authority (JCRA) found that the company did not inform customers about changes that occurred in November of 2010. The JCRA, which regulates and enforces the competition law in the Bailiwick of Jersey, has demanded that Jersey Post take the necessary measures to address the issue with its customers.

As a provider of webmail and POP3 email services, Jersey Post’s dilemma should serve as an example to email service providers of what not to do. When you have a contract with your customers, you need to be on your Ps and Qs in order to elude the ramifications of breaching the agreement.

Implement a Good Record Keeping System

Throughout the years, the record keeping process has gone from storing documents in file cabinets, to tapes, to digital storage facilities. No matter how you choose to store them, having a reliable system that keeps them safe, secure and available remains a must. Not only could failure to implement a good record keeping system cause problems with the boys at the Internal Revenue Service office, it could also threaten the very existence of your company.

Draw up Favorable Written Agreements

It is said a lot, but some contracts truly are not worth the paper they’re written on. One of the worst things you can do as an email service provider is draw up written agreements that fail to cover all the essential terms and conditions or accurately reflect the intentions of your service. It is highly advisable to consult with a qualified attorney who can make sure your agreements are properly drafted. While you want them to be fair to the customer, you also want them to be flexible enough to work in your favor and keep you protected.

Live up to Expectations

A good record keeping system and airtight written agreements will not do you any good if you fail to live up to the expectations in your contract. This is why Jersey Post is now scrambling to rectify the license breach and avoid penalties from the JCRA. Whether it is compensating customers for downtime, protecting their personal data or providing a refund, your actions must reflect what’s in those legal documents and enable you to hold up your end of the bargain.

John Curran of the JCRA stated that its purposes for looking into the Jersey Post mail license is all to ensure that prices are fair for the sake of competitive development in the local postal market. Whatever becomes of this issue, one would like to think that the veteran British service provider will come out of it barely unscathed and hopefully having learned a valuable lesson. In the meantime, this episode should serve as required reading to the email marketing company that wishes to survive a serious license breach.