Unsolicited marketing messages are a modern annoyance that can cause upset to millions of people, especially at Christmas. However, a recent case has shown that the authorities appear to be taking a stricter approach to dealing with the problem, raising hope that a solution may finally have arrived! In the case, a claims management company that sent more than 2.2 million unsolicited texts received fines totalling £130,000.
The Company concerned was responsible for sending marketing texts that offered assistance in making payment protection insurance (PPI) mis-selling claims. After two investigations, such texts were found to be serious breaches of both the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Compensation (Claims Management Services) Regulations 2006 by the Information Commissioner & Secretary of State for Justice respectively.
Unsurprisingly, the Company challenged the penalties arguing it had been punished twice for the same transgression and the impact on the company’s business would be too great. The FTT dismissed the appeal based on the huge quantity of plainly misleading texts. Furthermore, the company had a turnover of over £1 million and would be able to cope with the burden of paying both penalties.
The decision will be a welcome relief to consumers, who will hope that it will result in a reduction of unwanted marketing communications this Christmas. For businesses, it serves as an important reminder of the need to regulate their use of data and ensure their marketing techniques comply with the rules.
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