With the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) coming into force in May 2018, it is a good time to review the consent which you hold in relation to your customers’ preferences for direct marketing.

There are two types of consents for marketing which are ‘opt-in’ or ‘opt-out’. Opt-in consent is where a customer must tick a box or sign a document if they want to receive the marketing. Opt-out consent is obtained where a customer must tick a box or sign a document stating that they do not want to receive any marketing.

Whilst you may use either (or both) of these options in relation to obtaining consent from your customers, the type of direct marketing which you may legally use depends on whether the consent has been obtained via opt-in or opt-out.

The five types of direct marketing are direct mail (post), e-mail marketing (whether direct or a newsletter), telemarketing, automated calling and SMS marketing.

If you have obtained opt-in consent then (so long as you have stated the following to the customer), you may contact the customer via any of the 5 types of direct marketing even if the customer is with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS), as consent overrides this.

The position is vastly different however if you have obtained opt-out consent. You can only (unless an exception applies) market via direct mail or telemarketing.

With fines set to increase drastically under the GDPR, you should ensure that you hold the correct consents and update these if necessary so that your marketing is not in breach.

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