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24 May 2018

Do I Need to Re-consent my Email List?

To Reconsent, or Not to Reconsent – That is the question

Since GDPR became a thing everyone has been running around in circles; first, trying to understand it and then trying to be compliant. In the end, I gave up trying to unravel it all and just read the bloody thing; it only made it a bit clearer. There are lots of messages out there, some true, some false and the rest just really unclear. There have been lots of conversations on Facebook and other social media platforms on how the guidance has been interpreted.

Do I need to reconsent my email list?

One of the major issues has been whether organisations need to contact everyone to get them to reconsent to receiving emails from them. We have been inundated with emails asking us to reconsent to things, some of which we’ve ignored. We’re not GDPR experts and don’t profess to be but here is our take on the reconsent question.

It actually seems quite straightforward to us. The major misconception that people have put out there is that you automatically have to get everyone to reconsent to your emails. This is not the case.

The ICO confirmed that you do not need to do this.

However, they do go on to say “be sure existing consents meet the GDPR standard”. This where it gets terribly messy because that’s not a yes or no answer. All of the businesses who don’t understand the regulations or their systems have bombarded people, so the handfuls of businesses who have consent which isn’t “GDPR standard” can’t get through.

In fact, if a business does ask people to “reconsent” and they didn’t have consent in the first place they could get into trouble like Honda and Flybe did.

A further sticking point for business owners is that by attempting to reconsent everyone you risk losing a chunk of your mailing list. For example, you send an email asking for reconsent and stating you’ll unsubscribe them if they don’t respond. Now say only 10% respond, this would mean you have lost the ability to send marketing emails to 90% of your prospective clients. Of course, you can mitigate this risk by sending the email multiple times with different subject lines. That’s a very lengthy discussion outside the realms of this blog.

This is the reason that GDPR is such a talking point. It’s a regulation so some of it’s open to interpretation and there are lots of moving parts. Then every single business has a different path to compliance.

Here’s a quick summary of what you need to think about around emails:

  • You do not automatically need to send out reconsent emails
  • You should determine if your current consent is “GDPR standard”
  • You must ensure that information is stored securely and properly managed
  • Every email you send must include a clearly visible, easy to use unsubscribe option
  • If someone asks you to unsubscribe them you do so as soon as possible and not email them again (although you might still be allowed to reach out to them in other ways)

As previously stated we are not GDPR experts but we do help lots of people with their systems and processes to ensure they are compliant going forwards. If you would like help systemising your clients and potential clients, give us a call on 01604 532320 to chat about how we can assist you.


Jacqui Frost

Jacqui Frost

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