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Illegal E-Mails From Your Smartphone?

October 10, 2012

Does your signature on your smartphone look like the one above? Or perhaps it said “Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE DROID.” As a real estate agent, you’re constantly on the move. The concept of an  “office” has taken on a lot more meaning – it’s no longer just the desk you go to sometimes. With the right tools, the “office” is wherever we are – and we’re sending more and more emails from our smartphones. But does a Realtors® need to reference their DRE number in their mobile email signature? After all, it is almost universally added to our email signatures when we’re sending from out computers or laptops.
Let’s look at the DRE rules. As of July 2009, your DRE license number must be on all solicitation materials intended as a first point of contact with consumers. Under the section 2773 regulations this includes:

  • Business cards
  • Stationary
  • Websites owned, controlled, and/or maintained by the soliciting real estate license
  • Promotional and advertising flyers, brochures, email and regular mail, leaflets, and any other marketing or promotional materials designed to solicit the creation of a professional relationship between the licensee and a consumer, or intended to induce a consumer to contact the licensee about any licensed services.
The disclosure rule excludes advertisements in electronic media (such as radio, TV, streaming video, etc.), print advertisement in a newspaper or periodical, and “For Sale” signs placed on or around a property,

So … what does that mean about emails sent from mobile devices? The law is ambiguous – it truly depends on what type of email you’re sending. Are you reaching out to someone for the first time or just dealing with a past client? The truth is though that some email you could be sending from your mobile phone could require it. As with most legal issues – we fall on the side of caution – why wouldn’t you include it in your mobile email signature? We send plenty of emails both from our mobile devices and from our desktop computers that don’t require our DRE# in our signature – but we still list it. We do this because we know it only takes one email that requires it that is missing DRE number to have a problem.
Realtors® almost always have robust email signatures – sometimes too robust. Maybe it’s time you think about what the signature on your mobile phone says about you. Would you rather tell people what type of device you’re on – or perhaps add some branding and your DRE license number?


Do you have a question about best practices?* Send us an email (blogs@apr.com) and we will try to answer it in a future entry.
*This is not meant to serve as official legal advice – please consult an attorney for legal advice pertaining to your individual situation.

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