A telecom provider has been fined £100,000 for sending over 2.5 million direct marketing messages without permission early last year, according to the UK Information Commissioner’s Office.
The telecom, EE Limited, argued that the text messages were service communications, not covered by electronic privacy rules.
The texts encouraged customers to use the ‘My EE’ app to manage their account.
But the ICO, in a finding that could affect email marketers in the UK, ruled that the messages contained direct marketing content — namely, promotion of the firm’s products and services.
It also stated that the texts were sent deliberately, although not in an intentional breach of the laws.
“EE Limited were aware of the law and should have known that they needed customers’ consent to send them in line with the direct marketing rules,” states Andy White, ICO Director of Investigations.
White adds: “Companies should be aware that texts and emails providing service information which also include a marketing or promotional element must comply with the relevant legislation or could face a fine up to £500,000.”
This means that if “a message that contains customer service information also includes promotional material to buy extra products for services, it is no longer a service message and electronic marketing rules apply.”