When using electronic channels, such as phone, text message or email, marketing and compliance professionals must ensure their activity is compliant with Ireland’s ePrivacy Regulations (SI 336/2011), which transpose the EU’s Directive 2002/58/EC (‘the ePrivacy Directive’) into Irish law. The general rule for electronic direct marketing is that it requires the affirmative consent of the recipient
. For example, by ensuring the individual has explicitly opted in. Each communication must include the option to unsubscribe from future correspondence, and should contain a valid address at which the sender may be contacted. The DPC is the supervisory authority and has the power to fine up to EUR5,000 per instance of a breach. This figure can quickly accumulate to a substantial sum, if the breach relates to electronic marketing sent to multiple individuals.
The Commission’s Annual Report 2020 advises that 147 new complaints were investigated last year under the ePrivacy Regulations
. Of these, the
majority related to SMS (text message) and email marketing activity. The Report contains a number of useful case studies outlining complaints received by the DPC. It is recommended reading for compliance and marketing teams, as the studies are highly instructive of some of the potential pitfalls that must be considered.