Inappropriate direct marketing

Unaddressed and addressed direct marketing and conventional telemarketing are permitted if the consumer has not specifically prohibited them. Electronic direct marketing, on the other hand, is only permitted if the consumer has specifically given their permission for it.

Conventional addressed direct marketing

  1. Addressed direct marketing and conventional telemarketing are permitted if the consumer has not specifically prohibited them.
  2. The consumer’s data may not be used for direct marketing if the consumer has not been told that their data can be used for such purposes.
  3. The marketer must be able to tell the consumer where their contact details were obtained.

For example, marketing is considered inappropriate if

  • direct marketing is targeted at a person who has notified the controller of prohibiting the use of their data for marketing
  • telemarketing or door-to-door sales takes place on a public holiday, late in the evening or early in the morning.

Electronic direct marketing

The recipient’s expressed consent given in advance is usually needed for electronic direct marketing, for example e-mails or text messages. Calls made through automated calling systems (robocalls) are considered a form of electronic direct marketing, and the recipient’s consent is required.

The consumer must give their consent for electronic direct marketing in writing, verbally or electronically by means of a clear action expressing their consent, such as ticking a checkbox. A pre-ticked checkbox or not silence on the subject does not indicate consent.

If the consumer has not given their consent, a company that sends them a marketing message violates the regulation on electronic direct marketing. In this respect, compliance with the Act on Electronic Communications Services is enforced by the Data Protection Ombudsman.

If a company makes persistent and unwanted solicitations to a consumer by telephone, e-mail or other telecommunications channels, this is aggressive practice prohibited under the Consumer Protection Act. Compliance with the Consumer Protection Act is enforced by the Consumer Ombudsman.

In exceptional cases, a company may send electronic direct marketing messages to a consumer without their permission if all of the following conditions are met:

  • the consumer’s contact details were obtained when they bought a product, and the purpose of the marketing message is to market only other similar products.
  • the company told the consumer at the time of the sale that it will send marketing messages to the consumer.
  • the company informs the consumer clearly and distinctively in each electronic marketing message about their right to prohibit the sending of such messages.

Unaddressed direct marketing

Examples of unaddressed direct marketing include a brochure that a company mails to all or selected households in a certain area. Sending unaddressed direct marketing material to a consumer is permitted unless the recipient expressly prohibits it.

Marketing is considered inappropriate if, for example, unaddressed direct marketing is targeted at a consumer who has placed a sticker saying ‘No advertisements’ to their letterbox or otherwise expressed their wish not to receive marketing messages.

The prohibition of unaddressed marketing applies to all unaddressed marketing material. You cannot opt out of certain advertisements or types of marketing separately. An exception to the prohibition are official letters and advertising attachments placed inside newspapers, the distribution of which you cannot prohibit.

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