On Thursday, the data watchdog said that Barrington Claims Limited, Newday Limited, Goody Market UK Limited, and TFLI Limited managed to generate hundreds of complaints by consumers inundated with spam.
The nuisance marketing has cost them, however, as they must cumulatively pay a fine of £600,000 for their activities.
Port Talbot-based Barrington Claims Limited is responsible for over 15 million automated calls and was unable to prove that the firm had gained the consent of each person to contact them — and as a result, has been fined £250,000.
Newday Limited, based in London, has been fined £230,000 for sending over 44 million unsolicited emails promoting its financial products. An investigation found that Newday used other companies to send these emails to people who had subscribed to those firms but had not checked for consent.
Goody Market UK Limited, an insurance comparison site from Liverpool, must fork out £40,000 for sending 111,367 spam texts to consumers. A data broker purchased consumer data from another company on their behalf.
The ICO has also ordered the firm to stop illegal marketing immediately or face court action.
Macclesfield-based TFLI Limited has been fined £80,000 for sending at least 1.19 million spam texts promoting a website offering loans. 793 people complained about the communication, which was made possible through the use of personal data gained from other companies.
Spam and unsolicited marketing in such volumes are frowned upon by the agency, and as each of these companies did not secure the agreement of every recipient to be contacted by them, they have broken UK law.
“Firms cannot get away with failing to follow the rules designed to protect people from the irritation and, on occasions, distress nuisance calls, emails and texts cause,” said Andy Curry, ICO Enforcement Group Manager. “I would urge anyone bothered by nuisance marketing to report it to us. Your reports help us take action against firms like those we have fined today, putting a stop to the trouble they cause.”
Earlier this week, the ICO fined Carphone Warehouse £400,000 for failing to adequately protect consumer information, which led to a data breach in 2015 which exposed data belonging to over three million customers and thousands of employees.
The fine is one of the largest issued by the ICO in the agency’s history.