Direct Marketing - What you need to know about direct marketing
18th September 2019
A topic the Data Protection Commission receives a lot of queries on is direct marketing communications and how individuals can opt-out of them.
Direct marketing is governed by both the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Regulation 13 of the ePrivacy Regulations (SI 336/2011).
Direct marketing usually involves an organisation (marketer) attempting to promote a product or service, or attempting to get you to request additional information about a product or service, by targeting you as an individual.
Types of direct marketing may include:
- Fax messages;
- Telephone calls; or
Direct marketing is not always sought after. If you receive direct marketing when you have not provided your information to an organisation, or did not provide it for the purpose of marketing, this is known as unsolicited direct marketing.
Unsolicited direct marketing
Unsolicited direct marketing is essentially marketing contact with you that was not sought or requested by you. You may, or may not, have directly provided your contact information to an organisation. Nevertheless, this does not always mean you provided your contact details in order for the organisation to market their products or services to you.
You can stop an organisation sending further unsolicited direct marketing to you by sending an unsubscribe or opt-out request to the organisation that sent you the marketing material. The marketing material you receive should always include a valid address to which you may send such a request and your unsubscribe must be actioned.
However, direct marketing may not always be unsolicited. For example, if you have an ongoing, or recent, business relationship with an organisation, in the context of the sale of a product or service, then marketing contact from that organisation might not be deemed to be unsolicited. In that scenario, when giving your contact details at the point of sale of a product or service, you may have been given the option to opt-out of direct marketing. If you chose not to opt-out, the organisation may subsequently send direct marketing communications to you about its similar products or services.
If you receive direct marketing from an organisation you never dealt with before and if you have concerns as to where your information was sourced, you may seek an explanation from the organisation concerned. Where you are unhappy with the outcome please contact this office for further advice.
Not all marketing communications sent by an organisation involves the processing of personal data, and therefore, data protection regulations do not apply in those situations. For example, unaddressed postal marketing received at your home is not covered by data protection legislation.
Direct marketing also does not include market surveys seeking your views on issues such as political matters or radio listenership preferences.
The National Directory Database - Opt-Out Register
If your landline telephone number is registered on the National Directory Database (NDD) Opt-Out Register, marketers in Ireland are prohibited from calling your telephone number for direct marketing purposes. To place your landline number on the NDD Opt-Out Register, you should contact your telephone line service provider.
Concerns about Direct Marketing
If you receive direct marketing communications that breaks these rules, you may submit your concern to the DPC outlining the details. Our online form for this purpose is available on our website.
Read more on our rules for electronic and direct marketing.