Over half of UK brands spam customers

Spam emails

They may be respected as brands, but more than half of the UK's leading names are breaching good email practice guidelines by showering their customers with unwanted emails.

A new report has cited the likes of PC World, B&Q and JD Sports as some of the 51 per cent of online retailers in the UK sending large amounts of emails that hadn't been requested by the user, over the past six months.

In fact, the report showed 44 per cent of the brands operated an automatic opt-in system for emails, rather than asking for customer preference, and a massive 56 per cent of all the emails sent by them were not "explicitly requested" by the consumer.

"Trusted brands are making a big mistake by not acting responsibly, openly and fairly with customers," said Andy Yates, co-founder of Spam Ratings, which conducted the study.

"Businesses spend millions building brands and then seem intent on destroying them by sending millions of useless, unwanted emails."

The title of worst offender went to the Arcadia Group, which owns Top Shop, Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge, Top Man, Wallis and Evans. The report claimed if a user signed up to the group's mailing list, they would have received 394 emails in just six months, equalling two emails per day.

Also, Boots and British Airways were among a list of 13 brands going against the guidelines by opting in customers to receive emails from third parties.

"Big brands need to start acting responsibly now," added Yates. "Give consumers a fair choice. Let them choose if they want to receive emails."

"Common sense tells us that if consumers actively request emails then they are more likely to read them than delete them. Responsible brands need to communicate and have a dialogue with consumers rather than annoy them."

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.