A credit company responsible for sending nearly one million nuisance texts in six months has been fined £80,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
Provident Personal Credit Ltd, based in Bradford, employed third party affiliate companies to send 999,057 unsolicited text messages on its behalf to promote personal loans for its brand Satsuma Loans. This was against the law as the recipients had not consented to receive such messages from Provident.
An ICO investigation was sparked following 285 complaints to the spam reporting service between 6 April and 13 October 2015. The ICO found that one of Provident’s affiliates had sent 868,393 unsolicited texts while another sent 130,664. It is believed that the full scale of the contravention was significantly higher as it is likely that other affiliates sent out many more.
ICO Head of Enforcement Steve Eckersley said:
“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.
”Companies have no excuse whatsoever for sending nuisance texts, whether they do it themselves or employ someone else to do it for them.”
Anyone receiving unwanted texts, emails or phone calls can complain to the ICO through our free and easy-to-use reporting tool at ico.org.uk/concerns.
Notes to Editors
- The Information Commissioner’s Office upholds information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.
- The ICO has specific responsibilities set out in the Data Protection Act 1998, the Freedom of Information Act 2000, Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003.
- The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a new law that will replace the Data Protection Act 1998 and will apply in the UK from 25 May 2018. The government has confirmed that the UK’s decision to leave the EU will not affect the commencement of the GDPR.
- The ICO can take action to change the behaviour of organisations and individuals that collect, use and keep personal information. This includes criminal prosecution, non-criminal enforcement and audit. The ICO has the power to impose a monetary penalty on a data controller of up to £500,000.
- The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) sit alongside the Data Protection Act. They give people specific privacy rights in relation to electronic communications. There are specific rules on:
- marketing calls, emails, texts and faxes;
- cookies (and similar technologies);
- keeping communications services secure; and
- customer privacy as regards traffic and location data, itemised billing, line identification, and directory listings.
We aim to help organisations comply with PECR and promote good practice by offering advice and guidance. We will take enforcement action against organisations that persistently ignore their obligations.
- Civil Monetary Penalties (CMPs) are subject to a right of appeal to the (First-tier Tribunal) General Regulatory Chamber against the imposition of the monetary penalty and/or the amount of the penalty specified in the monetary penalty notice.
- Any monetary penalty is paid into the Treasury’s Consolidated Fund and is not kept by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
- To report a concern to the ICO telephone our helpline 0303 123 1113 or go to ico.org.uk/concerns.