Legislation and the Law

There are 5 main areas of Legislation that you should be aware of when conducting Direct Marketing Campaigns

Data Protection Act (DPA)

There are 10 main principles associated with the DPA.

  1. Most companies, except non-profit, must register with the Office of Information Commisioner. This process is called notification and costs 35. For more information on whether your company need register, visit www.dataprotection.gov.uk
  2. The DPA covers all forms of data: manual (paper) records, computerised records, recorded and video data.
  3. When companies collect data from customers, they have to tell people what the information is required for.
  4. Data must be held only for specific and lawful purpose and not to be processed in any matter incompatible with those purposes.
  5. The level of data held must not be excessive for those purposes.
  6. Anyone can ask for a copy of the information that you hold on them.
  7. All data subjects have the right to object to direct marketing.
  8. All marketing information should have an opt-out clause.
  9. E-mail addresses are regarded as personal data.
  10. All data must be securely stored.
Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications (DPEC)

The DEPC (formally known as the Communications Data Protection Directive) states that an opt-in approach must be used when marketing by email to natural persons (private individuals and sole traders anywhere in the UK, and Partnerships in the England, Wales and Northern Ireland), with an exception where there is an existing customer/business relationship between parties. An opt-out approach will exist for corporate subscribers (@company.co.uk).

The sender is responsible for complying with this legislation.

E-Commerce Directive

The Regulations contain provisions on commercial e-commerce communications and include a requirement that all UCE (unsolicited commercial email) should be easily identifiable as soon as it is received (thereby enabling automatic deletion/filtering). It also states that all websites should have full postal and telephone contact details.

The Telecommunications (Data Protection and Privacy) (Direct Marketing) Regulations 1998

The act relates to both Telephone and Fax Marketing. It requires that companies using fax broadcasting as a marketing medium must comply with strict regulations. The four main points of legislation are:

  1. Sole Traders and Partners: 'Proper Persons' must not be faxed without attaining their permission first.
  2. All fax marketeers must run their fax numbers against the F.P.S. (Fax Preference Service) - a database of companies who have registered their wish not to receive any fax marketing.
  3. All fax broadcasters must maintain their own suppression database, consisting of companies who have requested exclusion from their marketing database.
  4. The fax document must either contain a company address or a free form of response. This is in order to prevent abuse of the ' per minute' unsubscribe fax numbers.

The act also enables Individuals (consumers, sole traders and (except in Scotland) partnerships) to register their objection to receiving direct marketing calls with a central service via the Telephone Preference Service (TPS). Companies wishing to market by telephone must run their database against this.

Mail Preference Service (MPS)

The Mailing Preference Service (MPS) is a non-profit organisation, which is funded by the direct mail industry to enable consumers to have their names and home addresses in the UK removed from or added to lists used by the industry.

Use of the Consumer File by list-owners and users is a requirement of the British Codes of Advertising & Sales Promotion administered by the Advertising Standards Authority, as well as a condition of the Direct Marketing Association's Code of Practice.

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