Telephone marketing: further regulatory activity and tips for compliance

Posted by Jon Belcher on
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has announced that it is writing to 1,000 companies involved in the trade in personal information.  This is part of an increasing trend to crack down on ‘nuisance’ marketing calls.  The ICO is seeking information about the information being shared, who it is shared with and how marketing consents have been obtained, to ensure that the companies are fully compliant with the Data Protection Act and the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations.

This is a timely reminder to organisations that there are strict rules for direct marketing by telephone, and that the regulator is increasing its enforcement activity in this area.  The ICO’s current campaign follows recent negative publicity attracted by some charities as a result of their fundraising activities, culminating in the publication of the Etherington Report, and a series of monetary penalties issued by the ICO to companies making unlawful marketing calls and texts.

So, if you’re considering buying or renting a marketing list, here are some top tips:

  1. Don’t forget your due diligence.  You should find out precisely what consents are attached to the list, how and when these were obtained, and what these consents entitle you to do.  Do not simply rely on bland assurances from the seller.
  2. Ensure that your list is screened against the Telephone Preference Service before you make any calls.  You generally cannot call a number registered with the TPS unless the individual has told you that they do not object.
  3. Beware of using automated calls.  These are subject to stricter rules than live calls.
  4. If you have any concerns about your marketing activities, seek advice.  We would be happy to assist you to ensure that all your marketing activities are compliant.

About the Author

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Jon specialises in information governance law and advises on data protection compliance, information sharing and freedom of information issues.

Jon Belcher
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