UK Consumers Call for Harsher Fines, Citing Brands Going Seemingly Unpunished for GDPR-Breaches

Mailjet logoGDPR may still cause heart palpitations to the marketers who, at this time last year, were scrambling to make the deadline. One year later the question begs to be asked: did GDPR increase the data privacy standard that consumers were promised?

According to the new consumer research by Mailjet, Europe’s leading email service provider, the answer is a resounding ‘NO’.

A major component of GDPR was giving control back to the consumers on how brands used their data. That being said, new research reveals that 40% of the consumers are still receiving marketing emails that they have not willingly opted-in for. Although 11% of the consumers do feel that this happens less often than it did a year ago, the fact remains that when a consumer provides their email address it’s still being seen as a ‘free game’ to many of the marketers.

Read More: GDPR Anniversary: Where Are We on Privacy a Year Later?

In further disappointing news, only 31% of the consumers think their overall experience with companies has improved following GDPR, and 40% feel that companies don’t care at all if they are in breach of GDPR. So the question then becomes, what next?

Plenty of thoughts and opinions have been extolled about the virtues of GDPR compliance in an attempt to push better marketing practices further up the business agendas. As new, more advanced marketing platforms and software are brought into play by brands and agencies, a clean database at the core of campaigns is essential. Yet, none of this seems to have moved the needle for today’s customer experience.

In fact, our recent study exposed that some high street brands still follow up their e-receipts with unsolicited marketing emails, an activity that might put them at risk of non-compliance with GDPR if brands cannot ensure that there is a legitimate interest, that is, a clear link between the email promotion and user’s purchase.

According to the newly surveyed consumers, 39% are calling for harsher enforcement of penalties against brands who break data privacy regulations. This call had a particular focus on large brands, for whom 27% of consumers believe seem untouched by GDPR. They have good reason to be upset. Some 52% of the overall cases have already been closed, with 1% facing a challenge in national courts.

The threat is clearly not enough for marketers with bad practices to change their ways.

Read More: Navigating GDPR: Preparing for What’s to Come

The inauguration of GDPR represented one of the most significant changes to marketing practices in recent years and many marketers worked tirelessly to achieve compliance. May 24, 2018, saw Mailjet hit a record of 100 million emails processed in one day, as massive waves of re-engagement campaigns and Privacy Policy update emails were sent by marketers desperate to hang on to their list of contacts.

Compliant companies have not worked this hard, and consumers have not waited this long for abuse of personal data to continue to go unpunished. Harder, more frequent penalties may be the inevitable solution to give consumers confidence in how their data is used and an inbox filled with only what they want to receive.

Read More: GDPR Compliance: Decoding The Mood A Year Later

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