Tougher new laws under new 'opt-in' regulations introduced recently make it an offence for marketers to call consumers on their mobile phone without a subscriber's prior permission.
Up to now, consumers had an 'opt-out' right, where consumers with no interest in getting commercial messages could have their details removed from lists.
Legal firm McCann FitzGerald say the new rules also apply to text and fax messages, which are not promotional as such but include information for direct marketing use.
In an analysis of the new rules, McCann FitzGerald's partners Paul Lavery and Annette Hogan said, in effect, they strengthen the laws applying to electronic marketing and phone calls.
Limited exceptions apply to the new the 'opt-in' rule. A company marketing its own products and services can still use email and texts provided they comply with the rules in force when the consumer's personal data was first collected.
Also, each time a consumer is contacted by a company they can object to receiving any more marketing emails.
Apart from individual consumers, companies may still be contacted for marketing purposes in any way other than by mobile phone, once they have not already objected to being canvassed. Each time a company is contacted, it must be given the chance to object, easily and free of charge, to getting any more marketing messages.
A breach of the new marketing rules is a criminal offence. Fines of up to €5,000 may apply to summary proceedings and fines up to €250,000 on indictments. Each marketing message sent in breach of the new rules is as a separate offence.