Guidelines 05/2020 on Consent under Regulation 2016/679 (GDPR)
Paragraph 3.1.4 Detriment
46. The controller needs to demonstrate that it is possible to refuse or withdraw consent without detriment (recital 42). For example, the controller needs to prove that withdrawing consent does not lead to any costs for the data subject and thus no clear disadvantage for those withdrawing consent.
47. Other examples of detriment are deception, intimidation, coercion or significant negative consequences if a data subject does not consent. The controller should be able to prove that the data subject had a free or genuine choice about whether to consent and that it was possible to withdraw consent without detriment.
48. If a controller is able to show that a service includes the possibility to withdraw consent without any negative consequences e.g. without the performance of the service being downgraded to the detriment of the user, this may serve to show that the consent was given freely. The GDPR does not preclude all incentives but the onus would be on the controller to demonstrate that consent was still freely given in all the circumstances.
49. Example 8: When downloading a lifestyle mobile app, the app asks for consent to access the phone’s accelerometer. This is not necessary for the app to work, but it is useful for the controller who wishes to learn more about the movements and activity levels of its users. When the user later revokes that consent, she finds out that the app now only works to a limited extent. This is an example of detriment as meant in Recital 42, which means that consent was never validly obtained (and thus, the controller needs to delete all personal data about users’ movements collected this way).
50. Example 9: A data subject subscribes to a fashion retailer’s newsletter with general discounts. The retailer asks the data subject for consent to collect more data on shopping preferences to tailor the offers to his or her preferences based on shopping history or a questionnaire that is voluntary to fill out. When the data subject later revokes consent, he or she will receive non-personalised fashion discounts again. This does not amount to detriment as only the permissible incentive was lost.
51. Example 10 (=Ex. 10) : A fashion magazine offers readers access to buy new make-up products before the official launch.
52. (Ex. 10 next) The products will shortly be made available for sale, but readers of this magazine are offered an exclusive preview of these products. In order to enjoy this benefit, people must give their postal address and agree to subscription on the mailing list of the magazine. The postal address is necessary for shipping and the mailing list is used for sending commercial offers for products such as cosmetics or t-shirts year round.
53. (Ex. 10 next) The company explains that the data on the mailing list will only be used for sending merchandise and paper advertising by the magazine itself and is not to be shared with any other organisation.
54. (Ex. 10 next/ last) ) In case the reader does not want to disclose their address for this reason, there is no detriment, as the products will be available to them anyway.