Financial services company LADH Limited has been fined £50,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for sending tens of thousands of spam text messages, in breach of Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR).
Over a six-week period from March to April 2022, LADH Limited sent more than 31,000 text messages without valid consent. Most of these unwanted text messages did not offer an opportunity for the recipients to opt out, which is also unlawful.
The ICO served LADH Limited with an enforcement notice to stop sending direct marketing messages without valid consent and issued a monetary penalty notice of £50,000.
Examples of the text messages sent by LADH Limited include:
“Free Debt Help can consolidate your unaffordable payments, write off up to 85% of your total debt Check if you qualify text HELP or Stop2Stop.”
"FREE Government Debt Help can consolidate your unaffordable debt and write off up to 85% of your total debt. Check if you qualify by texting help."
There were 106 complaints made to Mobile UK’s Spam Reporting Service by people who had received these unwanted text messages.
During the investigation, LADH Limited claimed it had received a verbal assurance that the data it had received from a third party contained details of people who had consented to being contacted, though it did not have any written confirmation of that consent.
“Sending unsolicited direct marketing messages is illegal and can be frustrating and distressing for people. All organisations using direct marketing messages are responsible for ensuring they have valid consent to contact every recipient. Relying on third-party claims of consent, without undertaking checks, leaves organisations open to our enforcement action if it turns out that people have, in actual fact, not given valid consent to be contacted.
“We would urge people to report unsolicited marketing text messages to Mobile UK’s Spam Reporting Service by forwarding the message, free of charge, to 7726.”
- Andy Curry, Head of Investigations
Notes for editors
- The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is the UK’s independent regulator for data protection and information rights law, upholding information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for people.
- The ICO has specific responsibilities set out in the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA2018), the United Kingdom General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR), the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR), Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 (PECR) and a further five acts and regulations.
- The ICO can take action to address and change the behaviour of organisations and people that collect, use and keep personal information. This includes criminal prosecution, non-criminal enforcement and audit.
- To report a concern to the ICO telephone our helpline 0303 123 1113 or go to ico.org.uk/concerns.