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.


April 11, 2019 UPDATE: The European Union has extended the UK's exit deadline to October 31, 2019. Should the British Parliament pass the withdrawal agreement negotiated with the bloc, then Brexit would take place on the first of the next month.


On March 29, 2017, UK Prime Minister Theresa May triggered Article 50, which formally started the process whereby the UK will leave the European Union. Article 50 was just the beginning of the withdrawal process, as it allows the UK two years to negotiate its leave with the other EU member states. The original plan was for the UK to leave the EU on March 29, 2019. but the process has proved to be very complicated and dates and outcomes continue to shift. The EU has granted the UK an extension to April 12, 2019. We cannot predict what will happen between now and then, with options ranging from a new referendum on Brexit to a ‘hard exit’. We will update as more clarity is achieved.


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?500,000 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