Frequently Asked Questions about Marketing Calls and the National Directory Database Opt-Out Register – a Subscriber's Guide
What is the NDD?
This is the National Directory Database. It contains details of subscribers which can be published in a directory and/or be made available through directory enquiries.
What is the NDD Opt-Out Register?
This records subscribers who have expressed a preference not to receive marketing calls.
How can I get my marketing preference recorded on the NDD Opt-Out Register?
If you are a new subscriber, your phone provider will ask for your marketing preference. If you are an existing subscriber, your line provider will have notified you of the procedures to follow. Typically you will express your preference by phone to your phone line provider, possibly followed up in writing. Your phone line provider will then supply the relevant detail to the NDD.
If you are an ex-directory subscriber your telephone number will automatically be included in the NDD opt-out register.
Can I contact the NDD directly myself?
No, the NDD is not capable of taking instructions from individual subscribers, only from line providers.
Who should I contact?
To have your telephone number included in the NDD opt-out register you should contact your telephone line provider. It is the responsibility of each line provider to have your preference recorded on the NDD. If a line provider fails to record your preference a complaint can be made to ComReg which has responsibility for this aspect. ComReg also keeps an updated list of line providers (see link below) and their contact details for the purposes of recording your opt-out preference.
What is the difference between a line provider and a phone company or service provider?
Although you may be dealing with the phone company or service provider that you believe supplies all the relevant service, support and infrastructure for your phone, it is possible that one company is supplying the service, whilst another provides the line that carries your communications. It is the line provider that provides information to the NDD.
How much does it cost?
This is a free service.
Do I have to get listed each year?
No, once you are satisfied with your preference, it will remain that way unless you issue a new instruction.
If I change phone company, do I have to restate my preference?
No, the preference is recorded on the line. It does not alter with any change of company. Only where you also ask for a new (or additional) line will you be required to restate a marketing preference.
Does this apply to my home phone only or can I get a listing for my business phone?
Both residential and business numbers are listed in the NDD and both types of numbers can have a marketing preference recorded.
How does it apply to faxes?
If you have a fax machine at home and use it exclusively for personal or domestic purposes, then no person may send you a marketing fax unless they have your consent. Accordingly, you have no need to express a preference in the NDD.
If you have a business fax (including one that you use in a home office on a residential line) you can get your preference not to receive marketing faxes noted in your listing in the NDD. If a person does not have consent to send you a marketing fax, they must check the NDD and respect any recorded preference before sending you a marketing fax.
Is there any facility available to opt-out mobile phone numbers from direct marketing?
Mobile operators (Vodafone, O2, Meteor,3) have decided to automatically opt-out all their subscribers. However this is not an NDD opt-out.
Under SI 336 of 2011 marketing calls to mobile telephones are prohibited unless (i) the caller has been notified by the subscriber or user that he or she consents to the receipt of such calls on his or her mobile telephone, or (ii) the subscriber or user has consented generally to receiving marketing calls and that such consent to receive marketing calls is recorded in the NDD in respect of his or her mobile telephone number.
Will listing stop all calls?
No, it should only stop unsolicited marketing calls made from within the Republic of Ireland. Non-marketing calls (including certain types of market research) will not be subject to these regulations.
To whom do I complain?
A complaint can either be made to the Data Protection Commissioner (who can prosecute offenders) or to the Commission for Communication Regulation (who can issue enforceable directions against certain bodies).
Can I get compensation?
The Data Protection Commissioner has no power to award compensation.
How do I know what preference has been recorded?
Any subscriber has a right to ask his/her service provider for a copy of his/her listing in the NDD. The service provider has a right to charge a fee for this service.
Can anyone in my house list a preference?
Strictly speaking, only the subscriber has a right to record a preference. However, a service provider can take instruction from another member of the household where the service provider is satisfied that that person is acting on behalf of, or with the consent of, the subscriber.
What is an unsolicited communication?
Unsolicited is essentially something that was not sought or requested. If you have an ongoing, or recent, relationship with a company or business, then contact from that company or business might not be deemed to be unsolicited, as implied consent may be in place. In addition, where you have volunteered contact details in the course of completing lifestyle surveys or entering promotions, such details may have consent attached to their use and contact may not be deemed to be unsolicited depending on the circumstances.
What is direct marketing?
Direct marketing involves a person being targeted as an individual, and the marketer attempting to promote a product or service, or attempting to get the person to request additional information about a product or service.
Will I still receive marketing calls from people I do business with?
Unless you instruct these people that you do not wish to receive marketing from them, they can rely on consent arising from an existing relationship to market you regardless of what preference may be recorded in the NDD.
How do I stop, or restrict, such calls?
To stop such people calling or faxing you, you must instruct them specifically not to contact you for the purpose of direct marketing. They may still need to contact you about non-marketing matters, such as accounts, deliveries or service needs.
If I change my mind at a later date, can I change my preference in the NDD?
Yes, you are not required to maintain one preference throughout your lifetime of listing in the NDD. However, if you frequently change your listing, it will be likely to generate confusion and make enforcement action by the ODPC or ComReg more difficult if not impossible.
Why do I have to express an opt out, why isn't it an opt-in database?
The EU Directive which has resulted in this (2002/58/EC) left it to Member States to decide whether to have an opt-out or an opt-in register. When transposing this Directive into National Law, the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources listened to representations from the public, from industry and from government agencies and decided to adopt an opt-out standard.
Where did this opt-out idea come from?
The idea to protect telecommunication subscribers from unwarranted intrusion on their privacy was first introduced in EU Directive 97/66, later replaced by EU Directive 2002/58 and EU Directive 2009/136. The EU Commission & Council of Ministers believed that people had a right to refuse to be contacted in their home or work environment by invasive unsolicited direct marketing phone calls or faxes.
Are there ways of stopping unsolicited marketing calls/faxes other than getting a preference recorded in the NDD?
It is open to any subscriber who receives a marketing call or fax to tell the caller not to contact him/her in future. That person is obliged to respect such a preference. If you do issue such an instruction, it is recommended that you take note of the date & time the instruction was issued on as well as the number to which the instruction was delivered (and a contact name if available).
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