I am on a number of mailing lists, like most of us πŸ™‚

One of the companies I receive a newsletter from sent me details of an event. Somehow I ended up on the list of interested parties for this event and started getting emails about it (I don’t remember signing up but the company says I did). Anyway after the initial few emails, I started getting texts about this event promoting it. I know I did not sign up for text marketing. Between you and me I hate text marketing. I find it irritating and so never agree to it. Now I know I did not give consent for text marketing. I emailed the company about text marketing and they say I ticked a box agreeing to their privacy policy but that they would remove me from the list. Phew.

Two days later, I get a phone call, marketing this event. Again I did not agree to phone marketing and I am on the telephone preference service. Another phone call to the company about marketing.

So here are the rules for text marketing and phone marketing.

  • If you are marketing to an individual, which includes sole traders, some partnerships or named individual employees of a business, then you need to obtain specific consent for text marketing. That means ticking a box which says they are happy to receive marketing information via text message.
  • There is also the soft opt in – You can also text an existing customer who has bought a similar product or service from you in the past – but only if you gave them a clear chance to opt out of getting marketing texts when you collected their details, and then in every message.
  • The rules on live marketing calls mean that you should not make unsolicited live calls:
    • to anyone who has told you they don’t want your calls;
    • to any number registered with the TPS or CTPS, unless the person has specifically consented to your calls – even if they are an existing customer. You will need to screen your lists prior to making the calls.
    • in relation to pension schemes unless you are a trustee or manager of a pension scheme or a firm authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority, and the person you are calling has specifically consented to your calls or your relationship with the individual meets a strict criteria.

    When making live calls, you must always say who is calling, allow your number (or an alternative contact number) to be displayed to the person receiving the call, and provide a contact address or freephone number if asked.

As I had not given consent and the soft-opt in wasn’t appropriate this company had no right to send marketing texts or make marketing calls to me. You have to have consent, usually via tick box for each purpose. It’s not good enough to say someone has agreed to a privacy policy. Also remember that electronic marketing is governed by the Privacy and Electronics Communications Regulations (PECR) as well as data protection legislation. Text Marketing

The company that was making such a mess of their marketing is……………………..a Social media and marketing agency (obviously with no idea of the marketing rules).

The processes in place to stop marketing when asked, failed completely. The person making the live call was using an old spreadsheet and had not updated it before commencing calls, (otherwise I wouldn’t have been on the list).

I contacted them about their inability to obtain the right consents for marketing. They didn’t know that they needed specific consents for texts and phone calls. They told me their software wasn’t able to support GDPR compliance and they were constrained by the software. That’ll make a nice defence when the ICO come calling.