KNOWLEDGE BASE Direct Mail Marketing In The UK

The information on this page was current at the time it was published. Regulations, trends, statistics, and other information are constantly changing. While we strive to update our Knowledge Base, we strongly suggest you use these pages as a general guide and be sure to verify any regulations, statistics, guidelines, or other information that are important to your efforts.

Brexit Update:
Since the UK officially left the European Union on January 31, 2020, the relationship between the two has evolved and continues to be shaped by the ongoing implementation of the withdrawal agreement.

Key Dates:

  • January 31, 2020: UK officially left the EU and entered a transition period that ended on December 31, 2020.

  • December 31, 2020: The transition period ended, and the UK fully exited the EU single market and customs union.

  • January 1, 2021: The UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement came into effect, outlining the post-Brexit relationship between the two entities.

  • 2023/2024 Current: The UK and EU are still navigating the ongoing implementation and potential revisions of their post-Brexit relationship.

It's crucial for businesses operating in either the UK or the EU to stay informed about the latest developments and adjust their operations accordingly.


Direct Mail Marketing Regulations In The UK


What laws and regulations apply?

If you send mail to named individuals, you must comply with the Data Protection Act (DPA). You cannot avoid your DPA obligations by addressing the mail to “the occupier” or “the homeowner” because you are still processing the individual’s personal data behind the scenes. Mail marketing must comply with most general regulations, guidelines, and codes on marketing and advertising. Because the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations (PECR) apply to electronic communications, they are not applicable to mail marketing.


How do I comply with the DPA?

The DPA requires that an individual knows that you have her contact details and that you intend to use them for marketing purposes. You must have obtained her information fairly and lawfully. You cannot send mail to an individual for marketing purposes if you originally obtained her contact details for a different purpose, e.g., market research. You cannot send marketing mail to an individual who has objected to or opted out of receiving such messages.

An individual can register her address with the Mailing Preference Service (MPS), which is similar to the Telephone Preference Service or the Facsimile Preference Service. The DPA does not specifically require you to check your mailing list against the MPS, but it is considered good practice and is required by the Direct Marketing Association Code and the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (CAP Code).


If you are sending mass marketing mail to all addresses in an area and do not know the identity of the people at the addresses, you are not processing personal data and therefore have no obligations under the DPA. You are likely required to comply with all other regulations and codes on marketing and advertising.


What are the risks of non-compliance?

The Information Commissioner’s Office is charged with the enforcement of the DPA. Any breach of the DPA could result in an Enforcement Notice, which if not complied with, could result in criminal prosecution. The imposition of a fine of up to up to £20 million could be imposed for the most serious breaches of the DPA. The Information Commissioner’s Office provides regularly updated information on its enforcement actions online.


Globig Resources

Data Protection Act

Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations

Mailing Preference Service

Telephone Preference Service

Facsimile Preference Service

Direct Marketing Association Code

UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing

KNOWLEDGE BASE Direct Mail Marketing In The UK