ICO fines bank and ad firm £125,000 for spamming customers

Vanquis Bank and Xerpla sent out almost three million spam emails and messages

The UK data watchdog has fined companies a collected 125,000 for spamming their customers with texts and emails.

Vanquis Bank has been fined 75,000 for spamming its customers with unsolicited emails and mobile phone text messages promoting its credit cards, while ad and web development firm Xerpla was given a penalty of 50,000 for sending out 1.26 million spam emails promoting a wide range of products.

"There are rules in place to protect people from the irritation, and in some cases anxiety and distress, spam texts and emails cause," said head of enforcement at the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), Steve Eckersley. "People need to be properly informed about what they are consenting to. Telling them their details could be passed to similar organisations' or selected third parties' cannot be relied upon as specific consent."

Advertisement - Article continues below

The ICO revealed Vanquis Bank had sent 870,849 spam text messages and 620,000 spam emails in its credit card campaign, breaking the law by not receiving the correct consent from customers before the mass mailout. Although it did seek permission from people signing up to the marketing, it used "non-specific" wording in its disclaimer such as "trusted parties" and "carefully selected third parties."

Xerpla sent out emails to people promoting products from dog food and wine, to boilers on behalf of other firms. Although the company did ask people to opt in to mailouts when they signed up to the company's www.yousave.co.uk and www.headsyouwin.co.uk websites, the ICO ruled the privacy policy was not clear enough.

Advertisement - Article continues below

"People were so exasperated by these messages that they complained to us. That sparked two ICO investigations and enabled us to take action and hold the firms behind this nuisance to account," Eckersley added.

"These firms should have taken responsibility for ensuring they had obtained clear and specific consent for the sending of the messages. They didn't and that is unacceptable. I would encourage anyone troubled by a spam email or text to report it via the ICO's website."

Featured Resources

Preparing for long-term remote working after COVID-19

Learn how to safely and securely enable your remote workforce

Download now

Cloud vs on-premise storage: What’s right for you?

Key considerations driving document storage decisions for businesses

Download now

Staying ahead of the game in the world of data

Create successful marketing campaigns by understanding your customers better

Download now

Transforming productivity

Solutions that facilitate work at full speed

Download now


General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

ICO to relax GDPR enforcement during coronavirus economic downturn

16 Apr 2020

The NHS teams up with Apple and Google on coronavirus tracking app

14 Apr 2020
data protection

Health sites are 'unlawfully' sharing medical data with Facebook and Google

7 Apr 2020
data protection

Supreme Court rules Morrisons was not liable for 2014 data breach

1 Apr 2020

Most Popular

Careers & training

IBM job ad calls for 12-years of experience with six-year-old Kubernetes

13 Jul 2020
Business operations

Nvidia overtakes Intel as most valuable US chipmaker

9 Jul 2020
cyber attacks

Trump confirms US cyber attack on Russia election trolls

13 Jul 2020