A third of Britain’s biggest firms are breaking anti-spam laws and therefore putting their reputations at risk, a new survey has found.

According to CDMS, a data and marketing firm, 31 per cent of the UK’s top 200 businesses are breaching the EU Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications relating to opting out of email lists and data recording standards.

Ian Hubbard of CDMS said: “Companies who have not complied are putting their carefully built brands at risk, by putting out the message to consumers that they apparently don’t care about legislation designed to protect their prospective customers’ privacy.

“This effectively puts them in the category of junk emailers and associating them with a rising tide of spam and growing consumer concerns over the security of their personal records.”

According to the directive, firms must offering customers the chance to specifically opt into marketing emails and have the chance to withdraw when their details are recorded as the result of a promotion or enquiry.

Yet Struan Robertson, editor of out-law.com and a technology lawyer with Pinsent Masons, said that the regulation need not be restrictive to firms.

“If you’re emailing existing customers to promote similar products to those they bought before and these are people whose contact details you obtained when selling or negotiating a sale, prior consent is not needed – provided you identify your company, give an opt-out on collection of the email address and include an unsubscribe option with each email sent,” he stated.ADNFCR-8000151-ID-18031254-ADNFCR

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