Debt firm text campaign banned

Mobile giants join war on text spamA debt management company has been blasted by the ad watchdog after sending thousands of unsolicited text messages to people it believed had money issues, telling them to contact the company ‘urgently’.
The 8,000 messages, from Debt Line, stated: “Hi [recipient’s name] I urgently need to speak to you about your debts. We can contact your creditors straight away. Call now 0120XXXXXXX (ToOptOutTxtNOtoXXXXX)”.
But one recipient challenged whether the ad breached the Code because it was sent without their consent; misleadingly implying that they had unpaid debt, sparking a probe by the Advertising Standards Authority.
Debt Line told the ASA it had bought a database of people who had been declined for a debt consolidation loan. It understood customers had explicitly consented to their details being shared with third parties but after a number of complaints it challenged the data provider provide evidence of explicit consent. This it could not do, and was subsequently sacked.
And although one of the contract terms Debt Line had with the data provider stated that only opt in data should be supplied, the watchdog said Debt Line still had a responsibility to ensure all necessary steps had been taken to ensure marketing communications were not sent to consumers who had asked not to receive them.
The ASA considered the ad would be interpreted by recipients to mean that they had outstanding debts, and because it had not seen evidence that that was the case, it, therefore, concluded that the ad was misleading, ruling it must not appear in its current form again.
Debt Line was told to take greater care to ensure that the appropriate consent had been given before sending out marketing communications by text message and to ensure that consumers could recognise its messages as advertising

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