By Ian Lewis, senior consultant in company commercial law and employment law at Bray & Bray.
Most people will have received in their lifetime or maybe even the last couple of months spam text messages to their mobile phone. They usually come from the sort of companies trying to find out whether you need some sort of insurance or perhaps whether you’ve had an accident which wasn’t your fault.
These messages might feel part and parcel of one of life’s irritating niggles, however a company based in Dorset selling high interest loans was recently fined £100,000 for illegally sending unsolicited text messages.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) launched an investigation into Silver City Tech Ltd and found it had broken the law because it did not have the consent of the three million people across the UK the text messages were sent to.
Oracle Insurance Brokers was also investigated and was found to have sent 136,000 text messages resulting in a £30,000 fine.
Both companies told ICO investigators it was a third party company which had sent the texts on their behalf. However, it is the responsibility of any business to ensure that recipients specifically consent to receiving marketing texts.
The fines stress the importance of businesses carrying out rigorous checks to ensure that the rules have been followed. Failure to comply with applicable law on data protection and marketing can result in the following penalties:
- Serious financial, commercial and reputational issues for the business, including possible criminal penalties.
- A negative impact on the ability of the business to use databases for marketing purposes.
- Reputational loss and the potential to be barred from trade bodies.
If you need advice on any aspect of data protection or how you are using your customers’ data, please call on 0116 254 8871 or you can contact me directly by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.