An appeal for information by the Information Commissioner (ICO), has resulted in potential fines in excess of £250,000 to be handed out to two people who sent millions of spam text messages.
The ICO appeal – issued in March – resulted in more than 30,000 responses to its plea for help identifying the most incorrigible spammers. Junk text messages and cold calls abusing UK regulations on commercial contact were taken into account. The fines will have to be paid if the spammers cannot prove that they had received permission to send millions of texts.
The ICO's Director of Operations Simon Entwistle said in a blog entry "All of this work has led us to where we are today with the ICO poised to issue our first monetary penalty notices. The public have told us that they are increasingly concerned about illegal marketing texts and calls.This is an important step that shows those who blatantly break the law will be in line for a sizeable six-figure penalty from the ICO."
While companies can contact consumers about goods and services, he said, they are not entitled to send unsolicited texts or use automated calls if they do not have permission to get in touch. Some of the calls and texts were about compensation for accidents that a person had not suffered or to lodge a claim for being mis-sold PPI that they were not entitled to make.
The two people who topped the complaints list have 28 days to demonstrate that they did have permission to send the junk texts or make the automated calls.