ICO clamps down on spam texters with six-figure fines

1st Oct 2012

The International Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has fined two ‘illegal’ marketers £250,000 for sending millions of spam texts - the first such case since the ICO was awarded more power.   

According to the office, both marketers breached the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR), which regulate electronic marketing, and have been informed of their penalty.

The ICO is also investigating a further eight companies for similarly sending unsolicited texts, said the Guardian. 

Simon Entwisle, director of operations at the ICO, said: “The public have told us that they are increasingly concerned about the illegal marketing texts and calls. These are often made by rogue companies claiming to offer pay outs for accidents a person has never had or PPI claims that they are not necessarily entitled to.

“While companies can phone people to sell them the latest product or service, the law states that individuals should not receive unsolicited texts or automated marketing calls unless they have given their permission.”

The ICO was given additional powers by the Privacy and Electronic Communication Regulations directive last year to fine companies up to £500,000 for misuse of consumer information.

The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) said the organisation has long been urging the ICO to take action again the problem of SMS spam.

Mike Lordan, the DMA’s COO, said of the penalties: “This is timely given the volume of complaints that consumers are making from receiving text spam continues to rise every month.

“Issuing huge fines sends out a strong message, so we look forward to seeing the ICO take more enforcement action to clamp down on this criminal activity. The ICO must continue to take a firm line to protect consumers and the legitimate mobile marketing industry alike.”

Following notification, the two marketers have 28 days to respond and prove that they were complying with the law otherwise final penalty notices will be issued, said the ICO. 


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