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Tax firm fined for sending 14 million spam texts

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14/12/2018
A London-based tax returns firm has been fined £200,000 for sending 14.8 million spam marketing text messages.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said Tax Returned Limited sent the messages without valid consent through a third party service provider between July 2016 and October 2017.

The company claimed that some of the consents were received through generic third party consent forms found on privacy policies of certain websites.

However, the ICO found that the wording of the policies was not clear enough and that neither Tax Returned nor the third party service provider were listed on most of those privacy policies.

The ICO said Tax Returned should have taken reasonable steps to make sure the data they obtained complied with the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulation (PECR), which includes getting specific, prior consent from people receiving the messages.

The ICO has also served an enforcement notice on Tax Returned, ordering the firm to stop its illegal marketing activity.

Steve Eckersley, director of investigations at the ICO, said: “Spam texts are a real nuisance to people across the country and this firm’s failure to follow the rules drove over 2,100 people to complain.

“Firms using third party marketing services need to double-check whether they have valid consent from people to send promotional text messages to them. Generic third party consent is also not enough and companies will be fined if they break the law.”

You can report nuisance calls, texts and emails at ico.org.uk. Spam texts can also be reported by forwarding them to 7726.

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