ICO fines South Wales firm £60,000 for pay day loan texts

STS Limited sent 27,000 people unauthorised text messages and the ICO received 268 complaints

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has fined Welsh IT service provider STS Commercial Limited for sending unsolicited text messages to 27,000 people without their permission, the regulator has revealed.

The Bridgend-based company allowed its network to send spam texts to phone numbers, without the owners' consent. The ICO explained STS had previously been involved in similar suspicious activity and it had received 268 complaints via its spam reporting programme.

The ICO discovered STS's involvement when it met with various network providers and questioned them about any suspicious activity. One of these providers said it had identified a high number of text messages being sent out, so the ICO investigated and found STS using unlawful practices.

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The company used a third party to obtain consent to use the data, but it did not check whether the information was collected according to the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR). Neither STS or the third party were able to prove whether the data was collected and used in accordance with the regulations, 

"Companies that send spam texts to people without their consent are flouting the law and I hope today's fine acts as a stark warning. Having previously been given the opportunity to clean up its act, STS continued to engage in this activity and have now been penalised."

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The ICO fined STS 60,000 and reminded STS and its directors about their obligations as part of the PECR, which runs alongside the Data Protection Act. The PECR gives people rights specifically related to electronic communications including email and SMS messaging, including activities relating to marketing communications, cookies, security and customer privacy.

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