An email from love2reward. It was strangely tentative. It didn't say what they actually did, it didn't offer me specific products or services, it just wanted to know if I was happy to hear from them.
Which, of course, I wasn't.
There was no link to click on if I did want to receive their spam, only an unsubscribe lnik. Which means that, all the people who don't click on their unsubscribe link (which would, I'd guess, be 99.9% of people getting the email) will be assumed by love2reward to welcome their spam.
So I looked them up with Google, and got their number 0845 313 0357. I spoke to Wendy there, who passed me on to their director of finance, Brian Hailwood. When I explained the issue to him, he said that he'd get Samantha Lomax to talk to me.
Very soon after that, Samantha called. She's their Director of Compliance, and it's always good to talk to a Director of Compliance, because their entire role is to ensure that their company Complies. Complies with what? Well, I'd guess that to start with, all relevant legislation. And possibly all relevant Codes of Conduct, Codes of Ethics, and Codes of Behaviour. Samantha assured me that they didn't buy in databases, but they did run several web sites, and perhaps I'd signed up at one of those? No, I hadn't. So she said she'd contact their IT department, and they'd be able to say exactly where I'd signed up. I told her that I'd find that extremely interesting, and she trotted off to talk to IT.
A very short while later, she came back to me. Yes, they did, in fact, buy in databases. Well, I wasn't surprised, I'd already told her that that was what must have happened. But, she said, only Business-to-Business databases. So I pointed out that my email address wasn't B2B. She said that the vendor, datab2b.co.uk had assured them, and guaranteed, that all the addresses were B2B. She had heard of the PEC (2003) regulation, indeed she knew what PEC stood for. Well done Samantha. If you need to get your name off the list of love2reward, Samantha is clearly the person to talk to, on 0151 653 1711.
Also, she pointed out that the emails they'd sent, weren't selling anything, they were an invitation to see if I was happy to hear from them. I didn't point out that this was, indeed, marketing, but I asked, well, what will happen next? In particular, what will happen with the VAST majority that she's emailed, who don't reply. And I explained to her why most people won't click on an email from a spammer, or indeed from any complete stranger. She saw my point - I think that people who didn't reply were going to hear more from them. And, I asked, this guarantee, will you be making a claim against it? She thought they might, and would read their contract. And she said that she'd contact datab2b.co.uk about all this.
She said she'd bring this up at the next Board meeting. Good idea, I thought. And she assured me that my email address was now off their list.
So then I called datab2b.co.uk, on 0844 357 0647, and spoke to Caroline. I spelled out the email address to her, and she said she'd get it removed. I asked her where they'd got it from, and her view was that they'd got it from "the internet". So I pointed out that "the internet" is pretty big, could she be more specific? She's looking into it. I also asked her to email all the people she's sold the email address to, to tell them not to use it, and she said she would; I was a bit surprised that she agreed so readily to that. And then I asked her about the guarantee. Apparently, the guarantee is that no more than 15% of the email addresses sold are incorrect.
Given that it's an offence to email people without their prior signing up, and without a prior business relationship, it seems to me that anyone buying a B2B database with a guarantee like that, is pretty sure to wind up breaking the law.
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