Juicy fine for Bradford firm after it blurts one million spam texts

Brit biz told to pay £80k for messages advertising Satsuma Loans

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Bradford-based loans company Provident Personal Credit has been fined £80,000 for squeezing out almost a million nuisance texts.

The UK Information Commissioner’s Office launched an investigation after a series of complaints were made via the GSMA’s spam reporting service.

It found that PPC had contracted third-party companies to send direct marketing text messages promoting Satsuma Loans, a trading name of the company.

According to the ICO’s investigation, Money Gap Group sent 868,393 unsolicited direct marketing text messages between 6 April 2015 and 31 October 2015, while Sandhurst Associates sent 130,664.

However, the ICO said in a statement that it believes the “full scale of the contravention was significantly higher, as it is likely that other affiliates sent out many more”.

None of the individuals had consented to receive direct marketing by or on behalf of PPC, the ICO said.

Instead, the affiliate companies’ privacy notices had said that people’s data may be used to send information about good or services that might be of interest from “selected partners”.

The ICO ruled that this breached the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations directive, as organisations cannot send text messages unless the recipient has notified the sender that they consent to receiving messages from the sender.

As the instigator of the text messages, PPC was responsible for ensuring that valid consent had been gained, the watchdog said.

And, given widespread coverage of nuisance texts and calls, the company should have known there was a risk of breaching privacy laws.

”Companies have no excuse whatsoever for sending nuisance texts, whether they do it themselves or employ someone else to do it for them,” said ICO head of enforcement Steve Eckersley.

“The law is clear. You can’t send marketing texts to people who have not signed up to receive them.

“Being bombarded with texts you didn’t ask for and don’t want is an intrusion into people’s privacy, an irritation and, in the worst cases can be upsetting.” ®

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