I want to poach customers from my competitor. Is it legal to email my competitor's customers, advertising my service as an alternative?


  • I can obtain a list of my competitor's customers, through a 3rd party product review site. This site allows those customers to review the competitor.
  • For each of those customers, I can obtain their publicly listed contact email address from their business website.
  • I would then email each of them, with a promotion email. Prompting them to consider me as an alternative.

Is this legal? Also, is it legal to refer to my competitor in the email in any way?

  • If you're not sure, then why would you listen to advice from strangers on the internet? I suggest asking a lawyer. – gnasher729 Aug 15 '16 at 7:47
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    The reason is to inform myself a little more about the subject before I meet with my lawyer. It is also useful to others that I share my experience on this forum. Isn't that the point of this site? – Learner Aug 15 '16 at 9:55

Generally, you are permitted to contact people for whatever reason you would like.

However, I would caution that you familiarise yourself with the various spam laws they have been enacted in your jurisdiction and also in those of your prospective recipients.

Some of these laws merely impose conditions on the manner in which you can send unsolicited email, others prohibit it in certain circumstances. I don't intend to traverse each jurisdiction, but Wikipedia has an apparently comprehensive list.

There's no reason why you can't refer to your employer, but you should note the relevant advertising and libel law in your jurisdiction and ensure you don't run afoul of these.

Finally, consider whether you are breaching any terms of use of the site from which you are obtaining this data. Although you've mentioned it's publicly available, and the enforceability of browsewrap agreements is questionable, it may be legal hassle you don't want to incur.

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    Lots of great insights from your comment. Thanks. I'll read through the relevant material and if necessary post back my findings. – Learner Aug 22 '16 at 2:26

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