Email has revolutionised how we keep in touch.
But the ease of reaching people by email has its downsides, particularly if you find your inbox full of advertising for products you’re not interested in.
Marketing emails can come from reputable companies (which you might have dealt with in the past) advertising their latest products.
However, they can also come from less reputable companies sending out thousands of emails to random addresses. This is commonly referred to as spam email.
There are two important rules on marketing emails.
- The sender must not hide their identity, and they must also provide a way for you to opt out of receiving further emails.
- Companies should not send you marketing emails without your permission.
If you already have a relationship with the sender, it can send you marketing emails about similar products and services, as long as you can choose not to receive any more messages in future.
The law does not cover marketing emails sent to companies.
To stop marketing emails from a recognisable UK source or an organisation you are familiar with, click the ‘unsubscribe’ link (usually found at the bottom of the email) or follow instructions in the email.
Alternatively, email the sender to ask them to stop sending you marketing emails (remember to keep a copy of any correspondence).
If the emails are not from a recognisable UK source or an organisation you are familiar with, do not reply to them.
Instead look at the guidance provided on the website of the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and contact your internet service provider.
If you are receiving a lot of spam emails, check the security options on your email program. It should have a filter that sends most spam straight to a separate junk folder.
You can also stop emails from particular senders. Check the instructions for the email programme you use.
What if this does not solve the problem?
If you still receive marketing emails or spam after unsubscribing or asking the sender to stop emailing you, complain to the ICO.
To make a complaint, do not forward your spam emails to the ICO. Instead complete the online form or call the ICO on 0303 123 1113.
You can also write to: Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF