ICO clears British Red Cross over illegal marketing

red cross 1The British Red Cross has been cleared of any wrong-doing following an Information Commissioner’s Office inquiry into its fundraising calls, sparked by last year’s Daily Mail exposé into alleged illegal charity marketing.
The organisation was one of eight charities to receive a warning about its telemarketing activity back in March 2014, 16 months before the Mail article.
But the ICO found that the organisation had complied with the law, although it has now agreed to sign an undertaking committing the charity to best practice, including the use of opt-in only data.
The undertaking commits British Red Cross to following these rules, which the ICO regulates, but it also notes the charity’s pledge to go beyond that. The charity will only call potential donors if they have specifically opted in to receiving such calls in the previous two years.
The undertaking was signed after the ICO contacted British Red Cross as part of its investigation into a report in the Daily Mail that suggested a number of charities were ignoring marketing rules to compete for donations.
ICO group enforcement manager Andy Curry said: “Our enforcement work issuing fines and dragging people before the courts is always likely to grab more headlines, and helps us reduce the annoyance of nuisance calls. But a big part of our work is working with companies who want to get it right.
“British Red Cross is a good example of that. They’ve seen the benefits of not just following the law, but following best practice, and we’re pleased that we’ve been able to work with them on this.”

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