Electronic direct marketing: new guidance and a record fine for automated calls

Businesses that use electronic direct marketing will welcome the publication of updated guidance by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).The ICO guidance aims to help organisations comply with their obligations when carrying out electronic marketing by way of, for example, telephone, fax, email, text, picture or video message, or by using an automated calling system.It provides more information for organisations about third party (indirect) consent and using bought-in marketing lists, and more detail on obtaining freely given consent by not unduly incentivising people to give their consent or making consent to marketing a condition of subscribing to a service.

The ICO has recently issued a record £350,000 monetary penalty notice on a lead generation firm that was responsible for making or instigating over 46 million automated calls without individuals’ prior consent and in contravention of the Privacy Regulations.As part of its crackdown on nuisance calls, the ICO has also issued enforcement notices on three Manchester-based companies ordering them to stop making automated nuisance calls or otherwise face legal action.