Your contacts can report emails as spam in their email program. You've probably seen this option in your Gmail or Yahoo accounts. If an ISP has what is called a feedback loop (most of them do), a recipient who marks one of your emails as spam gets registered as an abuse complaint in your Mailchimp account. How this is handled depends on the email provider, but in Mailchimp, we immediately move them out of your active audience and into the abuse complaints area.
In this article, you'll learn about abuse complaints.
I got an abuse alert in my account
At first, you should take an abuse alert as a "heads up" that people are complaining about your campaigns. If you get more complaints than a small handful, you should be concerned and we highly recommended to re-evaluate your email marketing process to prevent further complaints.
Once abuse complaints exceed our threshold you will receive a warning notice. If the complaint rate is far beyond that threshold, a suspension notice will arrive in your inbox from our abuse team. They will ask about your contact collection process and ask for other details about the health and life of your audience. We'll need that information because by then ISPs and anti-spam organizations are threatening to denylist us (other providers may refer to it as "blacklist") unless we explain why your audience generated so many complaints. A full investigation will proceed once we have the requested information from you.
Even if you're a legitimate marketer who does everything "by the book" and only uses double opt-in audiences, you can still get reported for spamming. Even if someone has signed up to receive emails from you, they can click the spam button in their email application if they think it's spam or junk mail. Some people just think the button is an easy way to unsubscribe from your email marketing. Some people are just too lazy to scroll down and click your opt-out link. That's why a couple of complaints are understood, but several gets into sticky territory.
What causes an account suspension?
Account suspensions are automatic system actions triggered when a single send exceeds industry thresholds. We are required by ISPs and Spamcop organizations to enforce the established thresholds and suspend an account in order to prevent any further issues while we investigate. When a suspension occurs, you will receive an email to the account's contact e-mail address briefly explaining the issue and directing you to the account to answer questions. Once the questions are submitted, someone from our Compliance Team will follow up with you to help expedite the investigation.
During an account suspension sending is disabled, but all other interaction with the application should continue to work (logging in, API requests, accessing your data, etc.).
We know you have a business to run and we are certainly not trying to hold you up! We are required by ISPs and anti-spam organizations to suspend the account to avoid any further issues while we investigate the cause of the abuse complaint thresholds being exceeded.
Accidental spam reports
If someone accidentally clicks that "report spam" button and is noted as an abuse complaint the only way to have them re-subscribed is if they use the signup forms provided by Mailchimp so that we have absolute proof of opt-in.