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Broadband provider fined £100,000 for sending millions of spam texts

Wednesday, May 17th 2017 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

Broadband provider Onecom has been fined £100,00 for sending millions of spam texts about mobile phone upgrades.

The Hampshire-based firm, which specialises in business connections, sent more than three million texts to Vodafone, O2, EE and Three customers promoting upgrade deals.

More than 1,000 complaints were made either directly to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) or via the 7726 spam text reporting service.

An investigation by the ICO found that Onecom had broken the law by texting people who had not consented to receiving marketing messages.

Onecom confirmed it had sent 3.3m messages between October 2015 and March 2016 but it could not provide evidence of where it had obtained the data used to send the texts.

It also failed to provide the ICO with proof that it had people’s consent to be sent the messages.

Steve Eckersley, the ICO’s head of enforcement, said: “Spam texts are a real nuisance to millions of people across the country and this firm’s failure to follow the rules drove over 1,000 people to complain.

“I would urge anyone bothered by a spam text to report it, either via the ICO’s website or by forwarding the text to 7726.

“Your reports will help us crack down on those who fail to treat people’s information with the respect it deserves.”

'Aggravating'

Ashish Koul, president at marketing automation company Acqueon, said: “The industry still has a long way to go in terms of protecting customers more effectively and ensuring their outbound marketing activities are carried out ethically.

“Any organisation that continues to flagrantly ignore customers’ rights will not only be fined, but more importantly, risk aggravating them in a way which is unlikely to make them future or continued customers.

“There is no excuse today for organisations sending texts to customers that not wish to be contacted, when there are technologies readily available that will ensure companies remain complaint with such requests.”

He said there are solutions capable of checking thousands of ‘do not contact’ records in seconds, ensuring there are no erroneous texts sent or calls made.

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