Legal aspects of telesales and direct mail advertising

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 marketing.

Data protection

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

Direct Mail

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 Service.

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 Marketing

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: http://www.cap.org.uk/Advertising-Codes/Non-broadcast-HTML.aspx

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.

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