It is permissible to perform direct marketing by phone to either corporate or individual subscribers without their prior consent.
For outbound calls, The Netherlands is one of the EU countries where outbound telemarketing calls are permitted under an opt-out regime for business-to-consumer and business-to-business telemarketing. It means that advertisers can contact consumers and businesses via telephone without having obtained their consent. However, when contacting natural persons via telephone (e.g. consumers, sole proprietorships and general partnerships), advertisers are obliged by law to use the governmental do-not-call register (The Bel-me-niet Register). When contacting legal persons there’s no such obligation.
There is an exception to the legal obligation to use the do-not-call register when contacting natural persons via telemarketing. When an advertiser contacts its own customers via telemarketing, use of the do-not-call register is not obliged. The Telecommunications Act states that when the advertiser has obtained the telephone number in the context of a sale, he may use this number for offering his own similar products or services without using the do-not-call register.
The Dutch Telecommunications Act also requires advertisers to actively inform the consumer about the do-not-call register in every telemarketing conversation. If the consumer wants to be registered in the do-not call register, the advertiser has to enable this. Furthermore, the advertiser has to inform the natural person of his/her right to object to the further use of his telephone number for telemarketing by the advertiser himself (right to object).
The Netherlands has a self-regulatory code for telemarketing, drafted by the Dutch Data-Driven Marketing Association (DDMA). This code is part of the Dutch Advertising Code and therefore applies for the entire Dutch advertising industry. The Code is enforced by the Dutch Advertising Code Committee. The rules govern all telephone conversations: for example, if a consumer wishes to end the conversation, the call center agent must do so immediately. The rules also state that on weekdays calls are permitted until 10 pm, on Saturdays until 4 pm, and on Sundays and official holidays telemarketing is forbidden.
In the Netherlands, robocalls (telemarketing via pre-recorded telemarketing messages) are strictly regulated by an opt-in requirement. If an advertiser uses these pre-recorded messages, he has to obtain the users prior consent.