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Can any freelancers out there tell us about being legally prosecuted for sending (single but unsolicited) emails to prospective clients (in the EU)?

In the EU of course there is the 'opt-in' law on unsolicited emails. (A recipient must opt in first.) And you can't even send an introductory email first to ask if a recipient wants your email (that would amount to the same thing, which is prohibited, so how you can legally get a recipient's permission to send them an email? - can you only call them or send them a letter?) I'm talking about single emails (not mass email advertising, which is indeed reprehensible) to get your name and service out into the market, to persons or firms who may really need what you're offering.

I've always wondered whether some firm or person has actually reacted to a single unsolicited email by taking the sender to court for breaking this EU Directive (every EU state has its own version in law). It seems improbable, but with people you never know.

Has anybody found a 'work-around' to cover an email sender from this risk? (Maybe write at the bottom of the email something like: 'not a commercial offer in the sense of the law' ?)

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  • What you are proposing is flat-out illegal. Don't forget that an unsolicited telephone call is also illegal in most cases. And yes, I, in the UK, report every single unsolicited email that gets through to me to the ICO and every phone call and SMS to OFCOM. It is up to them to prosecute, rather than the individual. Occasionally I receive confirmation that prosecution has successfully taken place. – Chenmunka Jun 17 at 9:33
  • Wow, thanks for filling in some gaps in my knowledge! This is tough stuff. So I could also be prosecuted for sending an ('unsolicited') letter by post with similar content (-not to speak of calling a tel. number by error)? And someone who needs a good service, and who hears mine is good, could by law not even send me an email to get in contact? Talk about the 'nanny state'. And what about all the new freelancers (what with the pandemic) who have something to offer but can't even try to get new clients (except through rip-off platforms)? – user24862 Jun 17 at 16:11

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