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The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has taken action against two nuisance marketing firms, continuing its fight against companies that flout the rules.
Separate ICO investigations have resulted in PRS Media, trading as Purus Digital, being fined £140,000 for sending around 4.4 million spam texts and Xternal Property Renovations being fined £80,000 for making nuisance phone calls.
The ICO found Dyfed firm PRS Media, trading as Purus Digital, did not have the consent of the 4.4 million people it sent marketing texts to.
The company, based in Dale in Haverfordwest, said that the information used to send the text messages had been obtained from its own competition website.
People were required to sign up to marketing as a condition of entering competitions on the firm’s website. This is not proper consent.
People must give consent to receive marketing text messages. The law says that people must have a genuine choice over whether or not to consent to marketing.
Glasgow firm Xternal Property Renovations broke the law by making more than 109,000 calls to people registered with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS).
People registered with the TPS have opted out of receiving marketing calls.
The ICO found that the company, which provides property and maintenance repairs services, should have screened the list of people it planned to call against the details of TPS subscribers and made sure its telesales staff knew how to comply with the law.
Examples of complaints about the calls made by Xternal Property Renovations include:
Xternal Property Renovations has also been issued with a legal notice compelling it to stop instigating the unlawful marketing calls.
Ken Macdonald, Head of ICO Regions, said:
“Nuisance marketing, whether it’s by calls to people’s landline or mobile, or through spam texts, causes disruption, annoyance and, in the worst cases, serious upset. We issue fines like these to firms behind nuisance marketing to send a clear message that such action will not be tolerated.”
“The ICO is looking forward to the commencement of our new powers, announced by the government last year, which will allow us to fine the directors of nuisance marketing firms as well as the companies themselves. This will enable us to take even more of a stand against the firms causing distress and intrusion to people’s lives.”
The ICO’s investigations into these firms were prompted by complaints from members of the public. People can report nuisance calls, texts and emails at ico.org.uk/concerns. Spam texts can also be reported by forwarding them to 7726.
The ICO has published detailed guidance for firms carrying out direct marketing by phone, text, email, post or fax.
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