This is not marketing: we are just telling you about our wonderful services!

It is a mistake many companies have made and it was fortunate that it did not cost them more – £90,000 is peanuts to a company their size.

American Express sent 7.5 million marketing emails to customers, but nearly 4.1 million had opted out!

AMEX argued that these emails were “servicing” in nature, not marketing.

“We feel that Card Members would be at a disadvantage if they were not aware of these campaigns and promotional periods” they told one complainant.

The ICO disagreed.

The emails contained marketing and advertising aimed at encouraging customers to use their cards to purchase goods and services.

The 9 different types of email sent included an e-newsletter with exclusive events available through the AMEX Concierge Service, some paid for; a “come back” email to customers who had not used their cards for a period of time, and an email encouraging customers to use their card in specific locations abroad, targeted based on the card holders’ travels.

Rules on direct marketing are clear: guidance was issued in 2013, updated in 2016, and a draft code of practice was consulted on in 2020.

Contact me for a legal yet common sense view on your communication content.

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