The ICO has fined a PPI claims management company £120,000 for sending unlawful spam texts about its services.
Hall and Hanley Ltd of Devonshire Street North, Manchester were responsible for sending 3,560,211 direct marketing text messages between 1 January 2018 and 26 June 2018 about PPI compensation claims.
The ICO launched an investigation after it became aware of a large number of complaints about the company. It found that Hall and Hanley, which had used a third party for this work, but did not have valid consent as required by law.
Steve Eckersley, ICO Director of Investigations, said:
”Companies which are responsible for generating these types of marketing messages should make sure they are operating legally or face a potential fine. Hall and Hanley should have known better. The laws on these types of marketing messages are strict because they can be very intrusive.”
Hall and Hanley claimed that consent to send the marketing had been obtained when people subscribed to one of four websites. However Hall and Hanley were named on only two of these websites’ privacy policies and people were required to give consent to receive marketing from third parties as a condition of subscribing – which is against the law.
The messages generated a total of 1353 complaints to the 7726 spam reporting service and directly to the ICO. These included:
“I have not consented to these types of messages and it is very concerning and worrying how this company got hold of my mobile number.”
“I have not given my company any of my personal information. I have never had any contact with this company. Receiving text messages like this is very concerning as I don’t know what other information they have on me, or where they got this information.”
If you need more information, please contact the ICO press office on 0303 123 9070, or visit the media section on our website.
Notes to Editors
- The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) 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 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Freedom of Information Act 2000, Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003.
- The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) 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.
- The ICO has the power under PECR to impose a monetary penalty on a data controller of up to £500,000.
- 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, visit ico.org.uk/concerns.