Play it safe but act fast

If you haven’t yet had a listen to Auto Retail Network’s GDPR webinar, then it’s well worth half an hour of your time. As well as explaining precisely what the legislation is all about and its impact on retailers, the Q&A session at the end dredged up some poignant questions from senior dealers. 

One delegate asked whether sending a service or MoT reminder to a customer could be considered marketing, and therefore within the jurisdiction of GDPR, or if were simply customer information (and I think there’s a wider point here, about how, specifically, lawmakers define what is and isn’t marketing. Beyond the blatant stuff, a bit of clarity would not go amiss).

Speakers Stewart Niblock of Autotorque and Iain Larkins of Radius Law agreed that such a practice would be applicable legislation, as it fell under the banner of “what is my data going to be used for?” – so the advice is to play it safe.  

Another question concerned existing databases, and whether or not retailers could be at risk due to old or odd marketing forms where customers might not have ticked the ‘I’m happy to receive emails from x dealership’ box, and whether or not businesses would be obliged to “repaper” the whole thing.

The solution in this instance is twofold, according to Larkins; firstly, the rules around contacting customers by mail are less stringent than they are for digital marketing, and secondly, if retailers intend to tap up customers to get their database ducks in order, then they should do it before the GDPR rules kick in, in May 2018.

Jack Carfrae

Acting editor

Auto Retail Agenda

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