Robinsons list - who can sign up for it?

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The slogan "Robinson List" still sounds incomprehensible to many and is associated only with Robinson Crusoe, the title character of Daniel Defoe's novel. Despite such obvious associations, the register is not the least concerned with adventure literature, but it covers consumers who do not want to be harassed by phone calls, mailings and advertising e-mails.

Robinson list - what is it?

The Robinson list (Mailing Preference Service, Telephone Preference Service, Do-not-call list) is a register of consumers who want to protect themselves from unsolicited advertising. Such directories have been around for a long time around the world, and in some countries companies are required to update their databases with the personal information of people registered on such lists. Similar projects were introduced in Poland from 1996.

The Polish Marketing Association was the first to create this type of list. The whole process was carried out under the slogan "Responsible Marketing", and everyone who signed up did not receive any advertising material from the association. Since then, there have been projects to extend the reach of the "Robinsons List" also to the activities of other companies, but only from 2015 it can be used by everyone who does not agree to receive advertising messages, regardless of its form (telephone, mail, e-mail ).

How does such a registry work? The Polish Marketing Association maintains an open list on its website, which can be entered by consumers who want to protect their right to privacy. The Association provides access to the database to all entrepreneurs who want to join the program, and companies associated in the Direct Marketing Association are required to include the data of such persons in their activities. The introduction of a fine for companies which, despite being on the Robinson List, send them advertising materials, is to further increase its effectiveness.

Is the Robinson List effective?

Creating a register of personal data that will not be able to be used by direct marketing companies seems to be absolutely right. However, there are loopholes in the law that allow companies to circumvent the ban on serving ads to people whose details are included in the Robinson List.

An example of such circumvention of the law is the use of someone else's databases. In the event that a direct marketing company receives an order from an external entrepreneur to conduct marketing activities over the phone, its activities will depend on whose database it will use. If she has her list of telephone numbers and will try to reach customers in accordance with it, she should avoid those on the Robinsons List in her actions. It happens, however, that the client will provide a list of people to be contacted by phone. Then the marketing company, if it wants to reliably fulfill the obligations arising from the contract, cannot omit in its activities the persons included in the list of the commissioning company and on the Robinson's List.

Doubts are also raised by the very fact of creating such a large database - some consumers are afraid of information leakage or the creation of databases impersonating the Robinson List. The last concern is based on the fact that on the Internet you can find several similar lists, kept by institutions other than the Polish Marketing Association.

At the moment, however, the Robinson List is the most direct means of protecting consumer rights on the internet. By entering into the register, consumers send entrepreneurs a clear and legible signal that any unsolicited promotional information is not welcome. In view of such a strong attitude, it is easier to prove to institutions dealing with the protection of consumer rights that the company from which the promotional materials come has violated these rights.