Peter Paul and Mayhem.



A story of email marketing gone wrong. Surnames have been deleted to protect the guilty.

On 20 Sep 2014, at 12:53, Peter wrote:

Hi Paul,

I have seen your CV details on one of the job boards and I am very keen to discuss an OLE Design opportunity with you. 

What is the best number to contact you on?  Are you currently looking for opportunities?

The CV I can see for yourself is out of date so if you could forward me your updated CV that would be great.

Look forward to hearing from you.



Senior Consultant

A recruitment gency

A posh address in London

First time in my life I’ve been headhunted but as I’m nearly on the final lap of the 10,000 metres of life I don’t really want to be employed. Strange how the email address is different to the name of the sender. But I felt aggrieved enough to reply.

From: Paul

Dear Peter/Cameron

Nice to know you’ve seen my CV on a job board. I am currently 62 years old and not seeking work of any nature so I suspect you are being economical with the truth in your marketing approach. The out of date CV you talk about is not just out of date – it doesn’t exist. I don’t have a CV as my V is based on not working. I am not on any jobs boards (whatever they are).

I presume you acquired my email from a third party as I have no relationship with you at all and that you never considered the PECR 2003 which forbid cold emailing unless the soft opt in exists which it doesn’t so you are in breach of these regulations and liable to a monetary penalty of up to £500,000 if the regulator feels it appropriate.

An apology would be nice but I’m not expecting one. Have a nice day.

I did consider copying in the ICO and asking for them to consider it as a complaint under PECR but decided to be lenient.

On 1 Oct 2014, at 09:45, Peter wrote:

Dear Paul,

Many thanks for your email.  Thank you advising that you are not looking for work.  I can confirm we are not being “economical” in our approach.   I can confirm your CV does exist & the existence is on Railway People ( which was last updated in August 17th 2012.

As proof I felt best to show you a copy of the CV that is currently on Railway People.  As you will see the CV does exist.  As your details are on Railway People we wanted to check your current situation and whether a contract opportunity would be of interest, but you have confirmed you are now retired.  May I also confirm that we do not use any third party sources and did not acquire your details from any such source.

I can also confirm we are not in any breach of any regulations as your details are on the site.  Apologises if you feel aggrieved by the approach but we were only contacting you as your details are on the site.

Have a nice day.

At this point I looked at the website and couldn’t enter the site on account of not having an account with them so rang the sales team. I met a nice young man who was sympathetic and very helpful. A few facts exchanged with him revealed that candidates who were looking for work in the railway industry uploaded their CVs (carefully fulfilling schedule 2,1 condition) and recruitment consultants would download CVs they thought looked interesting. (I suspect money changed hands here). There was person on the site with same name as me but he lived in Derby and had a different birthdate. Craig agreed to confirm this in writing.

On 1 Oct 2014, 09:45, Craig wrote:

Hello Paul,

As discussed, I can confirm that we hold no contact details for you on our database.

I’m able to tell you that Peter from xxx Recruitment downloaded the CV of a candidate by the name of Paul xxxx with a similar email address to your own.

I’m assuming you have been emailed in error by Peter so I would double check with the agency if you still have concerns.


Account Manager

From: Paul

Hi Peter

I’ve been in touch with Railway people and they have confirmed in writing that they do not have any CV for me (checking my home address and a few other key facts). They do have a Paul xxx based in Derby and linked to the railway industry and with a similar email address and told me you had viewed this.

All I can surmise is that somewhere between you picking up this person’s data you managed to turn his email address into mine. 


Paul (not the Derby one)

Hi Paul,

I can see where the confusion lies.  Apologise for the confusion & the email in the first place.



So Peter found a CV on an internet site despite him assuring me in an email that “May I also confirm that we do not use any third party sources and did not acquire your details from any such source. It wasn’t my CV. He then emailed what he thought was a person in Derby but managed to spell the email address wrong and reached me. Not having any relationship with me and ignoring the soft opt in exemption (or maybe not even knowing of its existence) means he breached PECR.

First class service from Craig at Railway People. He acted quickly and correctly.

Missed the connection at Crewe for Peter. Emailed without consent; breached principle 4 DPA; argued he was right; breached regulations about electronic marketing (which is his day job) but had enough guts to apologise at the end.

All in a day’s work for a DPA/PECR nerd.

Author: actnowtraining

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