EE fined £100k for unlawful marketing texts
Mobile phone operator EE has been fined £100,000 by the Information Commissioner's Office for sending more than 2.5 million direct marketing messages to its customers without their consent.
The messages, sent early last year, encouraged customers to access the company's app to manage their accounts and to upgrade their phones. A second batch of messages was then sent out to customers who did not engage with the first.
EE said the texts were sent as service messages but the ICO found that the messages contained direct marketing and the company had sent them deliberately. However, it acknowledged that EE did not deliberately set out to breach electronic marketing laws.
The ICO's director of investigations, Andy White, said: "These were marketing messages which promoted the company’s products and services. The direct marketing guidance is clear: 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.
"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."
White said 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.