Is emailing and phoning businesses legal?

GDPR or the General Data Protection Regulation governs how organisations must protect people’s personal data and gives people more control over how organisations use and store their data. Every business in the EU must comply with the GDPR and as the UK formalised it into new legislation under the DPA or Data Protection Act 2018, regardless of what happens to our position in the European Union, it’s definitely here to stay – which is a good thing. So, as this is a general legislation, covering a plethora of very important topics.

There is also the PECR or The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulation. This sits alongside both the GDPR and DPA. It concerns people’s specific privacy rights in relation to electronic and telephonic communications.

Processors & Controllers

If you are processing and storing data regarding the general public, sole traders or LLPs (Limited Liability Partnerships) then you must strictly adhere to all the rules laid out, especially when it comes to that initial introduction.

Having such a general array of different people with different needs makes it very difficult to justify getting in touch with them using any other reason than you have been given direct, explicit consent from them to do so. If these types of people are your ideal demographic, then Facebook ads or google AdWords with some quality content on the website is the best way forward – let them find you.


When you know a certain limited company typically has the need for your services, it’s absolutely justified according to the PECR that you can get in touch.

For example, you are a Facilities Management company and want to speak the decision maker who occupies a large office block 10 miles from you. Or you’re an IT Support company specialising in multi-site communications & security and want to speak to multi-branch estate agents…it’s this reason Limited businesses have a soft-opt in rule.

Meaning you are allowed to market to them assuming there is a legitimate reason for getting in touch with a prospect, processes allowing simple opt-outs or unsubscribes are in place and you have effective and auditable methods of handling and deleting all personal data if requested, then marketing in this way has the governments permission.


Bear in mind we’ve had the TPS and CTPS (Corporate Telephone Preference Service) in place since 1999 – which means don’t call people or businesses who have requested not to be called.

Legitimate Interest

Finally, if you are lawfully going to market to limited companies using the Legitimate Interest basis, then you should complete a Legitimate Interest Assessment which takes what you are looking to achieve, who you are looking to approach, and weighs things up from a fair and neutral perspective.

After balancing the needs and rights of the individual with the needs of your company, you will have either a yes this is the right way to go, or no, there is a better way for the individual. To sum this all up, if you are marketing your services to relevant Limited companies you know you could do business with, and you’re doing it in a fair, professional, respectful and sympathetic manner, taking on board the individuals requests, be it call me back in 6 months or if they say they aren’t interested, you act on it immediately.

Getting in touch with them to understand what they need and if what you offer is of interest, is a great way to start building new mutually beneficial business relationships.

See more information on Telemarketing and Email campaigns here.