The UK’s independent authority set up to uphold information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.

In brief…

You must not send marketing faxes to individuals or to any number listed on the Fax Preference Service (FPS), unless they have specifically consented to your faxes. You can send marketing faxes to companies that are not listed on the FPS. So you need to screen business fax lists against the FPS.

In more detail…

What are the rules on sending faxes?

The rules on marketing faxes are in regulation 20. In short, you must not send marketing faxes to:

  • individuals, including sole traders and some partnerships, unless they have specifically consented to your faxes; or
  • a company or other corporate body that has told you they don’t want your faxes; or
  • any number registered with the FPS, unless the person has specifically consented to your faxes.

All marketing faxes must include your name and a contact address or freephone number.

What is the FPS?

The FPS is the Fax Preference Service. It is a central register of people who have opted out of receiving marketing faxes. For more information, see www.fpsonline.org.uk/fps.

It is primarily aimed at businesses but individuals can also register their fax numbers if they wish.

When can we send marketing faxes to individuals?

You can only send a marketing fax to an individual if they have specifically consented to receive marketing faxes from you – for example, by ticking an opt-in box. See What counts as consent?

When can we send marketing faxes to businesses?

You can fax any business that has specifically consented to your faxes – for example, by ticking an opt-in box.

Sole traders and some partnerships are treated as individuals – so you can only send them marketing faxes if they have specifically consented to your faxes.

You can fax a corporate body (eg a company, Scottish partnership, limited liability partnership or government body) without consent, but only if the number is not registered on the FPS and they haven’t objected to your faxes in the past. So you will need to screen B2B fax lists against the FPS. You will also need to keep your own ‘do not fax’ list of any businesses that object or opt out, and screen against that as well.

For more information, see our separate guidance on business-to-business marketing.

Checklist

We only send marketing faxes to individuals (including sole traders and some types of partnership) if we have consent.

We screen numbers against the fax preference service before sending marketing faxes to businesses.

We keep our own ‘do not fax’ list of any business who says they don’t want our faxes.

We screen against our ‘do not fax’ list before sending marketing faxes to businesses and we don’t fax anyone that asks us not to.

We say who we are in the message and give an address or Freephone number that people can contact us on.