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Guidance for individuals

Direct marketing is still delivered through traditional channels including post or phone calls, but is increasingly transmitted using electronic means, such as text messages and email. 

Organisations using your personal information to send you direct marketing must comply with the data protection law.

There are additional specific rules that must also be complied with in relation to marketing by electronic means. These rules are called the Unsolicited Communications Regulations.

Responsible organisations comply with these rules by seeking your permission for electronic direct marketing when they collect your information and by providing details of the sender together with an opt-out from further marketing in every subsequent message.

Exercise your right to prevent direct marketing

Where marketing, in any form, is addressed specifically to you, the data protection law gives you the right to stop your personal information being used for that purpose.  This right is set out in Article 21(2) of the Applied GDPR.  This right does not extend to marketing material which is not sent to you personally, for example, letters addressed to “The Occupier” or emails sent to a generic email address, such as “[email protected]”.

To exercise your right you contact the sender of the direct marketing, or use the unsubscribe method provided in electronic marketing, to tell them that you do not wish to receive any more marketing from them. Keep a record of the action you have taken and when. (See more about how to exercise your data protection rights)

There is no particular form of words you should use but you need to make clear:

  • Your identity
  • The personal information you are referring to; and
  • The method of direct marketing you wish to stop.

The organisation should stop using your personal information for marketing, usually within 28 days. For email marketing this should be achieved more quickly, but it may take longer for pre-printed mailings.

You are also entitled to ask where the sender obtained your personal details from by making a ‘subject access request’ to the sender. 

Make a complaint

If you have received electronic marketing you had not consented to, or a request to stop marketing has not been complied with, you can make a complaint.

Complaints should be initially directed to the sender of the direct marketing. You should make a formal complaint to the company concerned to explain your dissatisfaction and seek to reach a resolution to your problem.

If you feel that your complaint has not been adequately resolved, you can make a complaint to the Commissioner if the direct marketing has come from, or on behalf of, a sender in the Isle of Man. If the marketing has come from a UK sender, you can complain to the UK Information Commissioner (www.ico.org.uk).

Manage the marketing you receive

  • Control access to your details –
    • Be careful who you give your telephone/mobile number to.
    • Don’t advertise your telephone/mobile number, for example by putting it on the internet.
  • Read the small print –
    • Check privacy policies and marketing opt outs carefully. Use them to tell the organisation not to contact you.
  • Register with the Preference Services –
    • Registration with these services is free. They will not stop all marketing, but there should be a noticeable difference.
    • Register your home, and/or mobile, telephone number with the Telephone Preference Service. It can take up to four weeks for this registration to take effect. For further information: http://www.tpsonline.org.uk/tps/index.html
    • Register with the Mailing Preference Service, although this can take up to four months to take effect. For further information: http://www.mpsonline.org.uk/mpsr/
    • You can complain directly to the Preference Services about marketing received after you have registered with them.