Direct marketing

Last updated: 8 August 2019

On this page

  • How your personal information can be collected for direct marketing 
  • How to opt out of direct marketing

Direct marketing is when an organisation uses or discloses your personal information to try to sell a product or service to you directly either by a phone call, or sending you advertising by email, text message or post, or targeting advertising to you in social media or on a web browser.

For example, an organisation may use or disclose your personal information to:

  • mail you a catalogue using your name and address
  • target online advertising to you using your personal information

How your personal information can be collected for direct marketing

Generally, your personal information can be used for direct marketing if you gave your details directly to an organisation, and if it’s reasonable to expect the organisation to use your information. For example, if you gave your personal information to a store loyalty program and you receive an email from the store advertising a sale.

Your personal information can also be collected from other sources and used to send you direct marketing. For example, from:

  • a public record, such as a telephone directory
  • a membership list of a business, professional or trade organisation
  • an online, paper or phone survey or competition
  • an online account that shows your purchase history or browsing habits
  • a mail order or online purchase

How to opt out of direct marketing

Any organisation that the Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act) covers must let you opt out of receiving direct marketing. The Privacy Act covers organisations with an annual turnover of more than $3 million, and some other organisations.

Common ways you can opt out of receiving direct marketing include:

  • clicking an ‘unsubscribe’ link in an email
  • replying to an email or text message with ‘unsubscribe’ or ‘STOP’
  • telling a telemarketer that you don’t want to receive their phone call and asking them to remove your phone number from their database
  • adding your phone number to the Do Not Call Register (see Spam and Telemarketing)

The Privacy Act does not apply to direct marketing covered by the Do Not Call Register Act 2006 or the Spam Act 2003.

For more information on how an organisation can use your personal information to market to you, see Direct Marketing

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