First fine under new powers for unsolicited marketing texts

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has fined Help Direct UK Ltd £200,000 for sending thousands of unsolicited marketing texts. This is the first time that the ICO has used its new enforcement powers under section 55A of the Data Protection Act 1998.

The lead generation company ran a marketing campaign in April 2015 which prompted 6,758 complaints in one month alone. People complained about a variety of messages offering services including the reclaim of PPI payments, bank refunds and loans.

As the ICO considers unsolicited text marketing “a matter of significant public concern” and as it is now be easier for it to issue fines for failing to comply with regulations 19 to 24 (relating to unsolicited direct marketing calls, texts and emails, automated calls, fax messages, identification of sender (when concealed) for email, and the information regulations), companies should ensure that their direct marketing activities comply fully with the Privacy Regulations 2003.

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