Is Spamming Illegal In the UK?

Yes, sending spam emails is considered illegal in the UK. To understand more, let us take a closer look at what the anti-spam law has to say.

Anti-spam law in the UK

The anti-spam law prohibits the sending of unsolicited marketing emails to individuals. However, you can still send cold emails to corporate subscribers if it is relevant to their work.

The restriction for sending spam emails is applicable not only for individuals but also for sole traders and partners because they are deemed an individual in the eyes of the law.

The main hurdle faced by the marketing agencies is that it is not clearly mentioned whether the client's email address has been obtained with explicit consent or negotiating the sale of similar goods and services.

One of the most critical things to keep in mind is that even if you have subcontracted your e-marketing campaign to agencies, the information commissioner will proceed to take action against you in case of a breach.

This is because as per the law, you will be deemed as the instigator.

GDPR on sending spam emails

In May 2018, the anti-spam law was further enhanced and improved under a new set of rules called the GDPR or General Data Protection regulation.

  • The GDPR affects businesses in the UK and marketers who send out emails to people located within the European Union boundary.
  • If your business sends out emails for marketing purposes, you need to ensure that it is done strictly as per the provisions of the law.

Read more about GDPR in our article on “Email marketing under GDPR

What will happen in case of a violation?

In the land of the UK, the GDPR rules are enforced by the Information commissioner.

Breach of any rule under the PERC (Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003) can result in hefty fines to the order of £5000.

The GDPR can impose fines that can be in excess of 20 million euros or 4% of the business's gross annual international income.

Thus, it is imperative to ensure that your campaigns are streamlined within the GDPR and PECR rules' limits.

How to avoid your marketing emails from being treated as spam?

The success of your email marketing campaign depends on what emails reach to your customer’s inbox and which are the ones that are dropped off as spams. To make sure that your marketing emails are streamlined and not classified under the spam category as per the PECR and GDPR rules,

  1. Get a clear consent from the recipient before sending.
  2. Include a valid address of your company in the email. Here, a valid address refers to a UK postal address which consists of the street location, building number etc. where a person can physically visit.
  3. If a user has given specific consent to use his email id for a particular purpose, make sure that you won't use it for any other purpose.
  4. Do not indulge in purchased lists.
  5. Provide the unsubscribe option as per the legal guidelines.
  6. Send relevant content that engages your customers.

Bottom Line

The PECR and GDPR rules hold a tighter grip on companies sending spam emails to individuals. Make sure that you do not send spam to a user if you don't have his explicit permission to do so.

The article is a part of our comprehensive guide on “Email Marketing in the UK”.