Vanquis Bank, the finance firm which specialises in targeting consumers with poor credit history, has blotted its own copybook after being found guilty of sending hundreds of thousands of spam texts and emails to promote its credit cards.
The bank, based in Bradford, instigated a campaign to send 870,849 text messages and 620,000 emails without consent to people it thought would be perfect targets.
However, an Information Commissioner’s Office investigation found that the company obtained the marketing lists from other organisations, and relied on indirect consent rather than checking itself that the correct level of consent had been obtained.
The consent included non-specific, general wording, such as ‘trusted parties’ and ‘carefully selected third parties’. Both the emails and texts broke the law and have led to the firm being slapped with a £75,000 fine.
The fine follows another earlier this year to sister company Provident Personal Credit over spam texts. Both businesses are part of the Provident Financial Group.
ICO head of enforcement Steve Eckersley said: “There are rules in place to protect people from the irritation, and in some cases anxiety and distress, spam texts and emails cause.
“People need to be properly informed about what they are consenting to. Telling them their details could be passed to ‘similar organisations’ or ‘selected third parties’ cannot be relied upon as specific consent.”
He added: “People were so exasperated by these messages that they complained to us. [Vanquis Bank] should have taken responsibility for ensuring they had obtained clear and specific consent for the sending of the messages. They didn’t and that is unacceptable.”
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