Discusses the state of direct marketing and what channels are available for companies to use direct marketing.
Direct marketing (DM) is an accepted business practice in Poland, as it is in other EU countries. Polish consumers are accustomed to purchasing via catalog as well to shopping on Internet platforms. More than 70% of Polish enterprises use direct marketing to sell their products and services. The most frequently used DM formats are e-mail and internet marking, telemarketing, direct sales, mailing sales (products available in catalogs and internet), TV marketing, and inserts in publications with a response element. Spending on email marketing equals 6% of total advertising expenditure with regards to Polish internet advertising. Local companies care about proper profiling, audience targeting, and know that a well-prepared email campaign will achieve a high conversion rate. Communicating with consumers through a social media (e.g. Instagram, Facebook) is also widely used.
In general, Polish law is compatible with legal regulations applied to DM activities throughout the EU. Direct Sales are governed by the Consumer Rights Act of 30 May 2014 (as amended) on Consumer Rights. Polish protection of personal data is rigorous, although recent interpretations in court have been less strict. A Good source of information is the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection.
The SMB Polish Marketing Association, established in 1995, and PSSB- Polish Direct Marketing Association, established in 1989, are both involved in introducing regulations and principles for DM in Poland. SMB promotes development of direct marketing per existing law and professional ethics.
There is a wide-range of EU legislation that impacts the direct marketing sector. Compliance requirements are stiffest for marketing and sales to private consumers. Companies need to focus on the clarity and completeness of the information they provide to consumers prior to purchase and on their approaches to collecting and using customer data. The following gives a brief overview of the most important provisions flowing from EU-wide rules on distance-selling and on-line commerce.
There is a wide-range of EU legislation that impactssumers. Companies need to focus on the clarity and completeness of the information they provide to consumers prior to purchase and on their approaches to collecting and using customer data. The following gives a brief overview of the most important provisions flowing from EU-wide rules on distance-selling and on-line commerce.
Processing Customer Data
The EU has strict laws governing the protection of personal data, including the use of such data in the context of direct marketing activities. For more information on these rules, please see the privacy section above.
Distance Selling Rules
In 2011, the EU overhauled its consumer protection legislation and merged several existing rules into a single rulebook - “the Consumer Rights Directive”. The provisions of this Directive have been in force since June 13, 2014, and replaced EU rules on distance selling to consumers and doorstep selling along with unfair contract terms and consumer goods and associated guarantees. The Directive contains provisions on core information to be provided by traders prior to the conclusion of consumer contracts. It also regulates the right of withdrawal, includes rules on the costs for the use of means of payment and bans pre-ticked boxes. Companies are advised to consult the relevant sections of EU Member States' Country Commercial Guides and to contact the Commercial Service at the U.S. Mission to the European Union for more specific guidance.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
In 2013, the EU adopted rules on Alternative Dispute Resolution which provide consumers the right to turn to quality alternative dispute resolution entities for all types of contractual disputes including purchases made online or offline, domestically or across borders. A specific Online Dispute Resolution Regulation will set up an EU-wide online platform to handle consumer disputes that arise from online transactions.
Distance Selling of Financial Services
Financial services are the subject of a separate directive that came into force in June
2002 (2002/65/EC). This piece of legislation amended three prior existing Directives and is designed to ensure that consumers are appropriately protected with respect to financial transactions taking place where the consumer and the provider are not face -to- face. In addition to prohibiting certain abusive marketing practices, the Directive establishes criteria for the presentation of contract information. Given the special nature of financial markets, specifics are also laid out for contract withdrawal.
Key Link: Distance Marketing
Direct Marketing over the Internet
The e-commerce Directive (2000/31/EC) imposes certain specific requirements connected to the direct marketing business. Promotional offers must not mislead customers and the terms that must be met to qualify for them should be easily accessible and clear. The Directive stipulates that marketing e -mails must be identified as such to the recipient and requires that companies targeting customers on -line must regularly consult national opt-out registers where they exist. When an order is placed, the service provider must acknowledge receipt quickly and by electronic means, although the Directive does not attribute any legal effect to the placing of an order or its acknowledgment. This is a matter for national law. Vendors of electronically supplied services (such as software, which the EU considers a service and not a good) must also collect value added tax (see Electronic Commerce section below).
Key Link: Direct Marketing over the Internet
In December 2015 the European Commission released a package of two draft Directives, respectively on “contracts for the supply of digital content” and another on “contracts for the online and other distance sales of goods.” This package addresses the legal fragmentation and lack of clear contractual rights for faulty digital content and distance selling across the EU. The package would only address B2C contracts, although its draft scope uses a very broad definition of both digital content (including music, movies, apps, games, films, social media, cloud storage services, broadcasts of sport events, visual modelling files for 3D printing) and distance selling goods so as to cover Internet of Things (such as connected households’ appliances and toys). It could also apply to transactions whether in the context of a monetary transaction or in exchange of (personal) consumer data. Healthcare, gambling and financial services are excluded from the proposal.
The package is currently under scrutiny at both the European Parliament and Council. Its adoption is expected in the course of 2018.