£83,000 in fines for email abuse should raise eyebrows
The news that Exeter-based business Flybe has been fined for breaching rules around sending marketing emails is a word of caution for everyone.
The rules are there to protect consumers, and they’re ‘fairly’ simple to understand. If someone has told you they don’t want to receive marketing emails, don’t send them. But there’s more to it than that.
The Flybe emails
Flybe, arguably cynically, emailed millions of people who had expressly stated they didn’t want emails asking them to clarify if their details were correct – with a prize draw thrown in.
The Information Commissioner’s Office fined Flybe £70,000 for sending these 3.3million unwanted emails in August last year, in breach of the Privacy and Electronic Communication Regulations (PECR).
And by comparison, Honda’s emails
The ICO also made a similar ruling against Swindon-based Honda, who sent out nearly 300,000 emails to customers in order to clarify if they would or would not like to receive marketing emails. Sensible housekeeping you may say, but this was a breach of the PECRs too. They were fined £13,000.
The key here is that the customers in question had not given their permission for this type of email. The ICO stated: “Businesses must understand they can’t break one law to get ready for another.”
So it’s not enough that customers tell you they don’t want to receive emails. You should assume that they don’t want them, even when they haven’t told you.
There are even more stringent rules coming into force in May 2018. We’ll update you then.