Communications with clients. Sending commercial messages

Updated last 26.03.2021

What do consumer and business company mean?

The business company is a legal entity – association of two or more persons (entities) for the execution of commercial transactions and business with common mutual funds.. Тhe most common types of business companies are the limited liability companies (LTD) and joint-stock companies (JSC). Тhey can be owned by a sole legal entity and in this case these are sole-owner companies (SOLTD / SOJSC). The other stipulated in the Commercial Act commercial companies are unlimited partnership, limited partnership, limited partnership with shares. Within the meaning of the Commercial Act the sole proprietors are also traders, in addition to the commercial companies. Similarly to the commercial companies they are subject of an entry in the Commercial Register and the Register of the Non-profit Legal EntitiesCompanies are regulated by the Commerce Act (CA) (see here for more information ) and since these are considered prepared to carry out their commercial activity, the requirements to the communications and signing contracts with them are not as strict, as those, concerning consumers.

Consumers are natural persons, acting for purposes, different from trade, economic activity, craft or profession of such person. Therefore, consumers are considered to be more vulnerable, since they are often unaware of the characteristics of the goods, which they buy or the specific provisions of the contracts, they sign. Consumers’ rights are detailed in the Consumer Protection Act. In case of violation the penalties may reach BGN 5000 for each individual case (e.g., in case of unlawful amendment of a written contract, signed with a consumer), as well as up to BGN 50 000 for unfair business practice (see here for more information).

What do you have to keep in mind, when sending commercial messages by email?

Sending marketing- and advertising-related commercial messages must always take place, subject to obtaining consumer’s permission. This is particularly applicable, when the consumer receives calls, messages or emails with or without human involvement. Such consent can be withdrawn at any time. In case of withdrawal of the consent, the company should not send company commercial messages to the consumer, unless the latter’s consent is re-obtained.

It is possible that at the implementation of its marketing activities for the companies to process consumers’ personal data, based on their own legitimate interest (see here for more information). In order to protect consumers’ rights, it is important that the commercial message provides the consumer with the option to unsubscribe from receiving further similar messages. In this case your company must not send commercial messages to that person, unless the latter’s consent is re-obtained.

If your company has received an email address or another contact detail of the consumer in conducting a commercial transaction for the provision products or services, it can use such data to send messages for marketing and advertising purposes of its own or similar products or services. Тhe company must provide each and every consumer free-of-charge and in an easy manner at the moment of concluding the transaction, the opportunity to refuse to receive such messages, as well as to refuse to receive such messages in the future, if it was not performed as of the transaction moment.

Sending messages for marketing and advertising purposes, however, is prohibited in all cases, if it is impossible to identify the person, sending it or if the message contains no valid address, where the recipient can send her/his request to be unsubscribed from further message receipt.

Sending messages is also prohibited, if the message does not meet the following conditions:

  • It cannot be recognized as a commercial message;
  • There is no clear identification of the natural persons or legal entities, on behalf of whom it has been sent;
  • It fails to specify clearly and unambiguously the conditions for using the promotional offers;
  • It fails to provide easy access to clear and unambiguous conditions for participation in competitions and games with announced prizes (if the message contains any such information).

Furthermore, if the message contains links to websites, which do not meet the noted above conditions, sending such a message is also in conflict with the law. It is important that the companies (i.e. this may also be your company) also meet the aforementioned conditions and the company, owner of the website, is easily identifiable.

Also, there are very significant rules, introduced on 25 May 2018 by Regulation 2016/679 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data. Тhey regulate the protection of the personal data of clients–natural persons, as well as natural persons, working for counterparts–business companies.

In the near future the EU is expected to adopt a new Regulation, to govern and clarify the methods of communicating marketing messages (here you may see the Proposal for Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the respect for private life and the protection of personal data in electronic communications and repealing Directive 2002/58/EC (Regulation on Privacy and Electronic Communications – ePrivacy Regulation). Тhe document was expected to become effective together with Regulation 2016/679, but its drafting was delayed. Regulation’s adoption will shed more light and more clearly regulate processing of commercial messages and messages for marketing and advertising purposes.

How do I maintain data arrays with client/consumer data?

When maintaining client databases, all the requirements, related to regulation 2016/679 concerning the technical and organizational protection measures, the grounds for processing and observing natural persons’ rights and freedoms, must be complied with.

For more information
For more information

For more information, please visit the website of Commission for Consumer Protection, and refer to the following regulatory documents:

  • Electronic Communications Act;
  • Electronic Commerce Act;
  • Consumer Protection Act;
  • Law on Provision of Digital Content and Digital Services and on Sale of Goods.