Chapter 9: Marketing using Electronic Methods – Data Protection Compliance in the UK, Second Edition


PECR includes special rules for marketing by fax, e-mail and telephone. Faxes for marketing purposes must not be sent to individual subscribers unless those subscribers have agreed to receive them. Corporate subscribers may opt out by registering with the Fax Preference Service.18 They also have the right to notify the marketer that the organisation does not wish to receive marketing faxes.

Telephone marketing must not be carried out to any subscriber, whether a corporate subscriber or an individual subscriber, who has either told the caller that they do not want to receive such calls, or that they have registered with the TPS.

There is no restriction (apart from complying with the general data protection rules) about sending e-mail marketing to people at their work or corporate e-mail address, but marketing e-mails to individual subscriber addresses is restricted. Marketing e-mails can be sent to individual subscribers if those subscribers have agreed to receive them or in the limited case that the sender has obtained the details in the course of a sale or negotiation with the individual, has provided an opportunity to opt out of direct marketing when the communication details were initially collected, and where the person is marketing similar products and services only. An opt-out opportunity has to be given at each time of marketing.

In all of these cases, the person using or instigating the electronic service used to send the marketing must ensure that their identity and information about how they can be contacted are made available to the individuals.

These regulations also impose special rules in relation to the use of information by electronic service providers and the use of cookies or other electronic mechanisms for gaining access to subscribers’ data. These rules apply as well as the rules imposed by the Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 200219 and the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000.20