European Union Laws Force Marketers to Accept Greater Burden of Responsibility
Please read this if you are conducting "direct" sales and marketing in the UK or Europe!
New legislation is coming into force THIS YEAR and sooner than I expected. If you're a business using the internet to market your products and services you need to keep records of any unsolicited or direct contact you make in approaching prospects.
- A greater burden of proof is on YOU and it could mean paying a fine if your business is audited and you are unable to comply.
If you are the kind of business that receives enquiries via advertising or referral (as opposed to approaching prospects yourself) the burden of proof is lesser. Still, you should take any and all measures seriously.
I run an email marketing mailing list and often manually add subscribers to this list. Before I do this I telephone the prospect, introduce myself, explain who I am and ask their permission to add their name and email address to my email marketing list. This may or may not lead to sales. Either way, I have to comply with the legislation in the event of a complaint. So should you if you operate (or intend to) in a similar manner.
Hopefully no complaints will ever be made against you or your business activities, and an audit may not be necessary, but please make provision to begin recording detailed notes of dates, telephone conversations and most importantly that you got PERMISSION to send direct marketing materials to an individual.
It's advisable to set up a database or spreadsheet specifically for any complaints received from prospects. Again, if you are a legit marketer and are not "aggressive" or making nuisance telephone calls, it is nothing to be worried about. It is still advisable to set up a complaints document of some sort using a colour coded or traffic light system. I have actually blogged about this, and if you want to know more, please message me privately.
As of NOW (3rd January 2014) you should start implementing measures to comply with what will most likely become law after May 2014.
I know someone who specialises in the legal side of business activities and as I write this he is looking into what we can expect over the next few months.
(By the way, the people we have to thank for all this are those financial companies that have latched onto loop holes in the law and try to make as much money as possible using all kinds of tricks and techniques. I think everyone has received at least one PPI or accident/injury text message and have found it highly annoying!)
I'm trying my best to keep my finger on the pulse with this. I suppose the laws were inevitable really given the state of the financial industry and how unregulated it is..
Ugh..... this bites. Thanks for the heads up, Darren.