Another week, another company falls foul of the overworked but unrelenting Information Commissioner’s Office, with the latest business to join the data hall of shame being a South Wales firm which allowed its lines to be used to send text messages to more than 270,000 people, without their consent.
A total of 274,423 unsolicited text messages promoting payday loans were sent between November 2016 and January 2017 via SIM cards registered to STS Commercial of Bridgend, which is registered as an IT service provider.
The company had previously been linked to another investigation by the ICO into other similar practices. During the previous investigation, STS and its directors were reminded of their obligations under PECR, provided with a link to the Commissioner’s Direct Marketing Guidance, and informed of the Commissioner’s powers.
However, the firm appears not to have learned the error of its ways and will now be forced to cough up a fine of £60,000.
The latest activity came to light when the ICO met with network providers, one of which had identified unsolicited marketing activity in the Bridgend area.
In responding to a notice from the ICO, the network later reported receiving 268 complaints through its spam reporting system during this period.
The Commissioner’s investigation revealed that STS relied on the consent of a third-party but did not carry out sufficient due diligence checks to ensure that the data complied with the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR). Neither the third party nor STS could provide evidence to support this.
ICO head of enforcement Steve Eckersley said: “Companies that send spam texts to people without their consent are flouting the law and I hope today’s fine acts as a stark warning. Having previously been given the opportunity to clean up its act, STS continued to engage in this activity and have now been penalised.”
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