Legal aspects of telesales and direct mail advertising
If your marketing campaign is designed to target individuals using
personalised techniques such as telesales and direct mail, you need to pay
close attention to the matter of data protection, as well as providing the
ability for your customers - or potential customers - to opt out of
If you hold and process information about your customers or potential
customers, you are legally obliged to protect that information in
accordance with the Data Protection Act. The main principles of the act
with regards to this type of data are to:
• only collect data for a specific purpose
• keep any data secure
• ensure that data is relevant and up to date
• only keep it for as long as necessary
• allow customers to view it if requested
• not transfer it out of the EEA without adequate protection
If your organisation processes any personal information, you are required
to register with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
Allowing customers to opt out
If any recipients of your direct mail campaigns ask to be removed from your
lists, you must comply. Furthermore, you should check that none of the
people you are intending to send marketing letters to via the post have
asked not to receive direct mailing by registering with the Mail Preference
Phone and texts
Unsolicited phone calls can be intrusive and the Telephone Preference
Service (TPS) was introduced to allow people to opt out of being contacted
in the course of telesales. You can be fined £5,000 for each sales call to
a number which is registered with TPS so it’s vital that you check first.
Marketing via text messaging (SMS) must give the user a way to opt out
(e.g. by texting “STOP”).
UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct
The UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct
Marketing (CAP Code) is enforced by the Advertising Standards Authority
(ASA) which has the power to ban or request changes to be made to any
adverts which breach the rules, such as those which are misleading or cause
offence. The code applies to adverts included in a direct mail campaign and
it also reinforces the rules on data protection.
For the full code go to:
If you’re advertising goods or services, you should make sure your
terms and conditions tally up with any marketing materials. A variety
of sector specific Ts and Cs can be downloaded from our Business
Documents Folder. Click below for further information.