Guide to Direct Marketing Using Live Calls Published By ICO
The Information Commissioners Office (“ICO”) has published “Guidance on direct marketing using live calls” under The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 (“PECR”). The guide regulates the rules that must be followed under PECR if a live marketing call is made. The guide supports the use of live calls in marketing while protecting users from unwanted situations.
PECR covers all types of live marketing calls. But calls, such as claims management service and live marketing calls for a pension scheme, are subject to stricter rules.
Although PECR does not use “live” calling terminologically, the term “live” call is used in the Guidelines to distinguish it from automated/automatic calls (systems that play recorded messages). In a live call, the person speaks with a person and not with a tape recording. The definition of direct marketing is taken from the Data Protection Act 2018 (“DPA 2018”). According to DPA 2018, direct marketing is defined as “the transmission (by any means) of advertising or marketing materials to specific individuals”. It includes direct marketing, commercial marketing, incentive (donation/election campaign) activities. The definition includes any form of communication involving live calling and marketing and does not include calls made for administrative or customer service purposes.
Generally, PECR rules apply to anyone who wishes to make a live call for marketing purposes without the request of the other party. At this point, the caller or promoter will be responsible. For example, if someone has asked someone else to make a live marketing call on their behalf, the caller and the person making the call will be responsible.
Additionally, some of the live marketing calls may be covered by other regulations. For example, the Financial Conduct Authority has introduced some rules that prohibit sales made by calling random phone numbers from the directory. These rules and standards should also be looked at.