The End of Corporate Christmas Cards?

It’s the season of goodwill and many companies will be wishing to send their customers thanks with Corporate Christmas Cards – but could GDPR put an end to this tradition?

According to The Sunday Telegraph, the topic of Christmas Cards being sent to constituents has been raised amongst MPs of political parties, with talk also shifting onto how GDPR will affect cards sent by organizations too. So how exactly will GDPR affect the sending of Corporate Christmas Cards in legal terms?

Legality of Corporate Christmas Cards

One stance that has been raised is that the introduction of GDPR means that unrequested Corporate Christmas Cards sent to customers and clients could break the regulations. In a recent briefing note, The Institute for Chartered Accountants in England and Wales addressed the issue, starting the note with the question: “Can we send documentation such as Christmas cards and budget summaries without gaining consent to do so?”

The response given by the organization, then states “Only if you can justify that you have a legitimate reason to do so” before further expanding:

“You can rely on legitimate interests if you can show that how you use people’s data is proportionate, has a minimal privacy impact, people would not be surprised or likely to object and they are given the means to refuse to receive such documentation in future (NB you must adhere to any such refusal).”

GDPR Won’t Stop Christmas Cheer

But what does this mean in terms of businesses showing their thanks and appreciation to customers and clients with Corporate Christmas Cards sent via post? Well according to Sharon Little, the Chief Executive of the Greeting Card Association, there’s “no need to panic” as long as the recipient hasn’t objected to receiving marketing communications from you.

Little then goes on to further explain why businesses have no reason to fear the implications of sending cards, commenting:

“Businesses are still going to be able to send Christmas cards to their customers by post. GDPR will not stop them spreading festive cheer, unless the recipient has specifically objected to receiving marketing from that business.”

Little advises to stay clear of any online based or email orientated greetings cards though, as these are likely to fall under the category of marketing.

“Different rules would apply to sending anything which is considered marketing by email – which might prevent sending Christmas e-cards – but who likes receiving these anyway?”

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Sam Rose