Another day, another warning to companies which are relying on dodgy practices to gather marketing data after London-based marketing company Boost Finance became the latest firm to have its collar felt by the Information Commissioner’s Office.
Trading as findmeafuneralplan.com, Boost Finance was behind 4,396,780 emails that were sent from January to September 2017. The emails were sent to people who had subscribed to websites operated by the company’s affiliates, but who had not given their consent to receive them.
The ICO investigation found that in all but one of the websites, it was not made obvious who the emails were from – although they did make generic mention of prepaid funeral plan providers in some cases.
The majority of the websites did not provide subscribers with the opportunity to opt out of third party marketing.
The law states that organisations must have consent to send such emails. That consent must be freely given, specific and informed and involve a positive indication – such as ticking a box.
The investigation found that Boost Finance relied upon inadequate and misleading methods to collect personal data to obtain consent and that consent was not sufficiently informed and therefore breached the Privacy & Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR). The company has been fined £90,000.
ICO enforcement group manager Andy Curry said: “Companies seeking to use email marketing must make sure they follow the law. People would particularly expect this to be so when the subject may be perceived as sensitive, as in this case.
“Boost Finance relied heavily on their affiliates to deliver millions of unwanted messages to members of the public, and also ensure compliance with the law. However, it was Boost Finance’s responsibility to ensure they had valid consent to send the emails. Businesses should send marketing messages in compliance with the law or face potential enforcement action by the ICO.”
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