Major retailers have been accused of inadvertently flouting GDPR by including marketing materials when they issue e-receipts, despite shoppers opting out.
An investigation by Which? saw mystery shoppers sent to 11 retailers: Topshop, Clarks, Gap, New Look, Dorothy Perkins, Arcadia Group (Miss Selfridge, Outfit, Burton), Schuh, Mothercare, Halfords, Currys PC World and Nike.
Each retail group was visited a minimum of three times and in each case the mystery shoppers requested an e-receipt but told the retailer they did not want to receive any additional marketing.
Of the stores visited, Mothercare, Schuh, Halfords and Gap issued e-receipts which contained the promotional marketing which the shoppers had opted out of.
Under GDPR, companies must not send direct marketing to new customers unless they have consented to receive it.
Halfords denied any wrong-doing, and said: “Our e-receipts do not contain any active promotion of products or services”. It added that its receipts fully conformed to the UK’s data protection law and GDPR regulations.
Meanwhile, Gap told Which?: “Following your feedback, we have now updated the communications you highlighted.”
Mothercare responded by saying: “We take the privacy rights of our customers very seriously and we are confident our e-receipts comply with data protection laws. We look forward to receiving Which’s findings so we can investigate fully.”
Which? managing director of home products and services Alex Neill said: “More and more shops are offering e-receipts, which can be convenient for shoppers, but our investigation suggests not all shops are aware of the law.
“Retailers must do everything possible to ensure shoppers can have confidence that they won’t be bombarded with unwanted marketing emails and that their personal details are safe.”
The investigation was prompted by a survey of more than 2,000 people, which found 70% were concerned about how retailers might use their data.
Almost three in five (59%) were concerned that if they received an e-receipt their email address might be shared with third parties, and just over two in five (42%) were concerned e-receipts made it easier for companies to target them with personalised marketing.
To leave a comment please register – it takes less than a minute and is free of charge. You will also get our weekly email update The DM Report (to opt out contact firstname.lastname@example.org). If you are an existing user, please log in. If you have forgotten your log-in details please email email@example.com to get them reset!