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Legal Q&A: using customers' mobile numbers for marketing purposes

By Poppleston Allen

- Last updated on GMT

Legal Q&A: using customers' mobile numbers for marketing purposes

Related tags Data protection Telephone Mobile phone

This week's legal Q&A looks at the thorny issue of data protection - and whether you should use customers' mobile phone numbers for marketing.

Data protection rules

Q:​ I am the manager of a restaurant. When someone books a table, they normally provide us with their mobile number to confirm the booking. The owner of the restaurant has told me we should store these and use them for marketing purposes to text customers about any special offers we may have on certain dates, eg Valentine’s Day. Are we able to do this under data protection laws, or do we need to have some sort of explicit permission from our customers in advance?

A​: You are certainly right to check whether this would be permitted. Under data protection and electronic communications laws, if you collect personal data (eg, the mobile phone number of customer) for marketing use as well as processing it fairly and lawfully, there is an obligation to be transparent — ie, explain why and how you wish to you to use an individual’s personal data and get their consent to receive marketing texts.

Not doing this is a breach of the data protection and electronic marketing laws and makes you liable to prosecution and/or a substantial fine. If you would like to send special offers to customers via text, I would recommend you explain why you want to use customers’ phone numbers at the outset and obtain their consent. Keep records, ideally in writing (to show compliance in the event of a complaint). Once you have this you may send your special offer texts, but make sure there is an option to ‘opt-out’ provided in every message.

Transfer of a licence

Q:​ I recently purchased a premises from the previous owner. I was supposed to transfer the premises licence within seven days of completion, but this took longer than expected. I went to the council today to transfer the licence and was told the previous holder had surrendered the premises licence a week ago. I could not make the transfer application and they said I would need to apply for a new licence. Is this correct and what should I do?

A:​ The licensing authority has simply got it wrong in this case. You can actually make an application to transfer a premises licence even if it has been surrendered, requesting a reinstatement of the licence under Section 50(1)(b) of the Licensing Act 2003. As long the transfer application is received by the licensing authority within 28 days of the surrender, the licence can be transferred to you and shall have immediate effect.

If within 14 days the police do not object to the application it will be formally granted. Therefore, I would suggest you get this transfer application submitted as soon as possible and ensure you are within the deadline.

Related topics Licensing law

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