Friday, 28 September 2007

Perils of promoting your company

Shropshire company directors may face a prison sentence if they don’t take care with direct marketing campaigns.

Our Senior Partner Graham Davies said changes to the Data Protection Act now meant directors would be personally liable if their company did not stick to the rules.

"The Data Protection Act 1998 has been updated and as well as making directors personally liable, it also now carries the threat of a two-year prison sentence and heavier fines."

Graham said the simplest approach was for companies to send a traditional paper mailshot. "There’s far less red tape involved than if you decide to send an electronic mailshot, and less scope for getting things wrong. Generally you’re free to mailshot whoever you like, but if someone asks you to delete their details from your mailing list, you must do so immediately."

"The main message is that you can’t send unsolicited electronic marketing such as emails to anyone unless they have given you their permission – and don’t cut corners by buying lists from third parties without checking they’re legitimate.

"There are some exceptions, such as if you have collected the person’s contact details during the course of a sale or negotiations, and if the information you want to send them only relates to similar products or services. You must also give them the chance to opt out of receiving marketing material from you every time you contact them, and tell them who you are, providing a contact address."