DPR raps Centrica opt-out leaflet

The Data Protection Registrar has notified Centrica that it is consider- ing action against it for mailing an opt-out leaflet to its 19 million customers.

British Gas has been unable to use its database to promote the Goldfish card ever since Marketing Week revealed that it would contravene section 42 of the Gas Act (June 14 1996).

Now the gas supply giant, which recently demerged from British Gas, has begun mailing its customers this week with a leaflet that allows its Goldfish credit card to be marketed to British Gas customers.

The campaign, which launched on Monday, includes a leaflet which states: “If you’d like to be kept up to date with useful and relevant products and services – you need take no action at all. If you do not wish to receive information from us about products and services which we think will be of interest to you or do not consent to our passing information about you to other companies within our group, please complete and return the coupon below.”

The leaflet says that the database created by excluding those who opted-out of the mailings would allow Centrica to send information about, among other things the Goldfish credit card.

The leaflet is in direct contravention of statements made by the Data Protection Registrar Elizabeth France that negative consent was unfair. According to the DPR’s annual report last year, silence does not imply consent and companies who use negative consent to build their database are acting unfairly.

A spokesman for Centrica says that the DPR had not given approval for the mailing and had informed them it would compile a report and decide what action to take.

“We do not feel that we are doing anything in breach of the law,” he says.

Latest from Marketing Week

NOT REGISTERED? IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here