E-mail / SMS Marketing and Data Protection Law – The Golden Rules

The Irish data protection watchdog has ramped-up his enforcement of the strict laws around email and SMS direct marketing. Ignoring these laws can lead to fines of up to €5,000 per unsolicited email or SMS sent by a company to an individual. The laws on marketing and data protection are complex but the below rules should help to assist with compliance in this area.


• When sending SMS or email marketing messages to individuals who are not customers, only market to these individuals where:

  •  they have specifically opted-in to receive the marketing message


  • they have been given a chance to opt-out of receiving further marketing SMS or email communications in every message sent (free of charge)

• When sending SMS or email marketing messages to individuals who are customers, only market to these customers where:

  • the product or service that is being marketed is similar to one they have bought previously from you


  • they were given a chance to opt-out of receiving marketing communications when their details were first collected


  • they are given a chance to opt-out (free of charge) of receiving further marketing communications in every marketing communication sent


  • a marketing email has been sent to those customers every year with the required opt-out and they have not chosen to opt-out

• Keep a list of individuals who opt-out and respect their preference

• Keep all customer details safe and secure

• Ensure that all employees who carry out marketing activities are trained in data protection law


• Ignore the above rules!

• Ignore any correspondence received from an individual who complains about receiving marketing messages. There is no charge for an individual to complain to the Irish data protection watchdog and his office is obliged to investigate any legitimate complaint

• Pass an individual’s details on to a third party without the prior consent of that individual

• Buy in marketing lists without making sure the right consents were collected from the individuals on those lists

If you require any further information on marketing and data protection, please do not hesitate to contact Lisa Jackson of Ogier Leman on 01 – 6393000 or ljackson@leman.ie


Disclaimer: This article is for general information purposes only and does not comprise legal advice on any particular matter. You should not rely on any of the material in this article without seeking appropriate legal or other professional advice. While every care has been taken in preparation of this article, we are not liable for any inaccuracies, errors, omissions or misleading information contained in it.

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