Big Corp. attitudes to customer preferences on marketing


I’m always, always extremely careful to ensure that I tick (or don’t tick) the relevant boxes to ensure that I do not receive marketing from any companies that I do business with. Or marketing from their “trusted partners”

I’m also extremely choosy as to who knows my mobile number. I’ve had the same number since October 1999 and I receive very little unsolicited phone calls or text messages.

With the advent of 2FA, however, more companies now know my mobile number.

Virgin Money

Some time ago I signed up for a Virgin Money credit card. I ensured that I was opted out of all marketing from the outset.

A couple of years later, I recieved a marketing text message. I phoned them and they confirmed to me that I was opted out. The call handler raised a complaint on my behalf.

The result of their investigation was that they had different systems that did not talk to each other. They agreed the message should not have been sent and offered me £75 provided I didn’t take complaint to Information Commissioner.

I took the money.


I only joined NatWest in January, ensuring that I was opted out of marketing. Despite this, last week I recieved a marketing text message from them promoting their smartphone app (that I already use).

The result of my phone all to them, about this, is that they know I’m opted out of marketing, they don’t know why I was sent the message and they can not guarantee it won’t happen again. A vague apology and no compensation offered.


In the last year or two, EE has upped its game on customer service.

That said, despite being opted out of marketing, they insist on sending me text messages suggesting I ‘get active with the EE app’. Again, I already use the app and they should know this.

A couple of years ago, one of their Twitter droids said that it was an “account information message” that they were “obliged, by law, to send to me.”

When I asked which law, specifically, they backtracked.

They still push the “essential account information” line when excusing marketing messages.

I suspect that big organisations, at the end of the, really do not care about customer wishes on how their data is used.

Personally speaking, I find it to be extremely intrusive to receive an unwanted text message or phone call.

I don’t place MIB faith in MPS / TPS, though I’m registered with both.

Don’t get me started on Royal Mail who believes that it’s fine to post rubbish directly into my hallway and their marketing opt out is limited to two years. What a farce.

(Tony Hoyle) #2

GDPR should stop that. Currently there’s no enforcement because there’s no budget for it (much of what large companies do is already unlawful but they don’t care). Once GDPR comes into effect fines are supposed go towards funding further enforcement… so the ICO have lots of incentive to actually do something rather than sit on their hands all day.


I didn’t know that, what a joke! Should be opt out until you opt back in, surely?! That is crazy.

(If there's the wrong end of a stick, you'll find me holding it.) #4

I wasn’t aware, either. I guess the reason might be that unlike email addresses, physical addresses have different people moving in and out. They wouldn’t want to miss out on inflicting useless junk mail on the next resident(s) just because you moved out :wink:


Does GDPR affect postal marketing?


It kind of makes sense to me. Just because you opt out doesn’t mean your house is opted out forever. Other people will live there at some point in the future, and Royal Mail marketing is unaddressed.


It wasn’t really Royal Mail that I was getting at. It was large companies ignoring marketing preferences of customers and how they ride roughshod over the wishes of customers.

These companies don’t seem to care that some customers don’t want marketing information.


Last week we had generic ‘to the household’ marketing from sky and talk talk. My parents got it too and have never dealt with either company, it’s just the generic spam marketing post the entire town seems to get sent :frowning:


Forget I mentioned Royal Mail. It’s companies with which you do have a relationship and which ignore your wishes that is the point of the post.

(Tony Hoyle) #10


“However, some postal marketing may be unwanted – more commonly known as ‘junk mail’. As with electronic marketing, if the person or organisation you’re targeting asks to be taken off your mailing list, you must comply with their request. There are no exceptions to this rule, and if you fail to comply, they can apply to the courts for an order against you under section 11 of the Data Protection Act.”

That’s existing law, btw. GDPR tightens up what is meant by consent (opting in passively isn’t allowed for example - you must explicitly agree to be marketed to).

At work we don’t even send much except invoices but we’ve still had to sanitise all our customer databases and make sure we have explicit consent to send them mail.

(Peter) #11

I’ve just been left spending the best part of an afternoon dealing with almost daily non-stop texts from Vodafone about a product I don’t even have with them anymore. Used to be a pay as you go customer until 2016, moved my number away from them but I moved back late last year to their new voxi thing, hate all of their marketing, logo & promotional material but at the moment I’m getting unlimited everything for a tenner a month so I’m quite happy with that.

Now, I don’t know whether my number moving back triggered something on an archaic system locked in a cupboard somewhere but in January the floodgates opened and I’ve been receiving texts all the time promoting add-ons to vodafone pay as you go (note, you can’t buy these add-ons while you’re on their voxi brand). Contacted them to get them to stop in February, they didn’t, now I’ve gone through again today… hopefully that will be the end of it.

Wrote a quick complaint in the time I was waiting for them to respond to me through “live” chat… doubt it will get me anywhere but it gave me something to do.


I left them last year but might have to move back. 3 signal is poor where I live and my EE signal isn’t too great either. Might look into voxi though! I had Spotify with Vodafone for a while, took months of calls to them to get it cancelled. I got refunded every month I complained so it wasn’t all bad, basically had free Spotify while it was happening


This is another thing that pisses me off with the mobile industry. All businesses I deal with are happy to “shut up and take my money” and marketing opt-out (if there is any marketing to begin with) is as simple as an unsubscribe link in the newsletter.

Why can’t mobile carriers be the same? Just take my money and get out of my way - I don’t have time for the same nonsense again and again. Maybe start innovating (multiple numbers? Unlimited data? National roaming?) and then we’ll talk, but until then, there’s no need to be spamming your customers with the same boring thing over and over again.

(Peter) #14

Would PM this to prevent going off topic but, just in-case anyone else is interested in voxi there’s a few restrictions:

  • Limited to under 25s only (I… do not understand why they’ve done this)
  • The plan is supposed to be: Unlimited social data + 2GB of everything else per month for £10

Currently, my colleagues and I are getting unlimited everything for £10 but, I have a feeling their ongoing “promo” that they magically keep extending is because their systems aren’t ready yet.


Yeah I agree, they must be having problems metering it as they do the same video and audio addons on the data plans too and it has been unlimited for a while.

Update: received the SMS to tell me no longer unlimited everything, so check yours too.

Edit: anyone want to share their voxi link with me?


they must be having problems metering it

Well the nice shiny DPI (deep packet inspection) magic box from Ericsson or Alcatel doesn’t come cheap and requires some configuration so that’s why it took them some time. :joy:

(Peter) #17

Just got a call from vodafone regarding my complaint: “we’re not sure why you’re getting these messages, we agree 101% that you shouldn’t be getting them and they should stop being sent now” and I’d be happy with that… if it wasn’t the third time I’ve been told that in 2 months…

After I pushed and mentioned the PECR they offered me £10 credit which is completely useless since I’m on a voxi plan and I can’t put it towards that… was called the wrong name throughout and got the impression they had their mouse over the “close complaint” button before they even picked up the phone because they kept trying to get me to.

Sorta hoping the messages carry on coming so I can moan at them again but, maybe that’s the end of it.

Edit: Had a chat with UK based Voxi support who apparently have nicer buttons to press than the complaints department, they’re giving me a free month (but it does involve them removing all of my payment cards and I have to add it back manually next month… … better than nothing)


we’re not sure why you’re getting these messages

This is because there is no engineering department in-house, it’s all third-party magic boxes.


I’m bracing myself for the criticisms of Ericsson. Or Starling. Or another company.

(Gav) #20

I work for a big corporate and I wouldn’t say we don’t care about customer wishes and preferences, but I suspect we don’t always adhere to them - but that would be more because of the legacy of IT systems that might not always talk to each other, and give us a single view of customers. Clearly I don’t speak for all big corporates, but I’m not sure I’d agree they don’t care - they wouldn’t want to wilfully go against legislation I don’t believe.

A long way to go I think, and hopefully GDPR will help.