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UKSolicitorJA
UKSolicitorJA, Solicitor
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Experience:  English solicitor with over 12 years experience
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summary of spam law regarding Uk B2B email marketing

Resolved Question:

summary of spam law regarding Uk B2B email marketing
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 3 years ago.
-Could you explain your situation a little more?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I am planning a B2B email marketing campaign to a list we have compiled ourselves. They are businesses, but some may be sole traders.



We are going to use names, [email protected] where we have these names, rather than, say,[email protected]



It is a highly targeted list, we are a respectable business, and most people we're writing to will have a need for our service.



I'm just trying to establish what is considered good practice vs illegal. And, if actually illegal, what are the potential ramifications? What laws apply, and are they UK or EU?



As I understand it, unsolicited bulk mail to individuals is spam unless the names are XXXXX XXXXX course of a transaction, enquiry for sale, or opted-in. I also understand that some small businesses like sole traders would be viewed as individuals in law, which could give us a problem (potentially) with our campaign.



I understand it's OK to send promotional email to cold contacts within corporate entitles, as promotion is a legitimate business practice. However, they must be oven the option to opt out. What I'm less clear about is the difference between writing to a named individual as opposed to a general enquiry address as I mentioned above and whether the former would qualify as spam, or not?



Then, if it is technically spam, what are the risks to us?



It seems it would be OK to write to anyone I like individually through Outlook, but if I write to several at once through a mailing software, it becomes bulk and potentially spam.



I wonder if you could please confirm my understanding or set me straight where I'm wrong and point out anything else I may be unaware of?



Many thanks

Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 3 years ago.
Thank you.

Your understanding is actually very good.

Sole traders is a grey area and the argument in your favour is that they are also businesses as they are trading and the The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 do not apply to business to business marketing campaigns.

You are allowed to carry out business to business campaigns but it is good practice to offer opt out to the businesses you will be targetting. Individual employees in those businesses may also opt out of your campaigns, so whilst you may target particular individuals in organisations, they must be given the indivual option to opt out so if they do, you should not target them but you may continue targetting people who have not opted out.

Also individuals who were customers previously may be targetted.

I would assume that you have already read the ICO guidance on this: http://ico.org.uk/for_organisations/sector_guides/~/media/documents/library/Privacy_and_electronic/Practical_application/direct-marketing-guidance.pdf

Quick checklist: http://ico.org.uk/for_organisations/sector_guides/~/media/documents/library/Privacy_and_electronic/Practical_application/direct-marketing-checklist.pdf

The Data Protection Act is also relevant and summarised in the ICO guidance.

Breaches of the law or regulations may be criminal or civil in nature and the ICO has the power to take enforcement action.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if you require further assistance.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Many thanks. Very useful. Just to clarify, we will observe all normal practices such as being clear about who we are, giving a physical mailing address and giving opt-out options, which will be managed automatically by software, so we most definitely would not email anyone who'd previously opted out. If we happened to have a colleagues address as well, then they'd stay on the list unless they also opted out.



Coming back to your response, in the the first doc you mentioned, is this:



"...In addition, many employees have personal corporate email


addresses ([email protected]), and individual


employees will have a right under section 11 of the DPA to stop


any marketing being sent to that type of email address…"



This seems to indicate that we can target firstname [.] lastname [@] org.co.uk in a B2B campaign without running into problems? Pls could you clarify?



Also, is there anything like the TPS for email that we should be checking against?



As I'm understanding this, then, it seems like we would be OK if we proceed as intended. Are you able to clarify this please?



Many thanks!

Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 3 years ago.

This seems to indicate that we can target firstname [.] lastname [@] org.co.uk in a B2B campaign without running into problems? Pls could you clarify?

Yes, that is fine but you would need to stop if the person opts out.



Also, is there anything like the TPS for email that we should be checking against?No, there is no such thing.



As I'm understanding this, then, it seems like we would be OK if we proceed as intended. Are you able to clarify this please?Correct.

Good luck

UKSolicitorJA and 3 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Excellent! Thank you. That's very reassuring.