PPI companies punished for sending spam texts

PPI company UKMS Money Solutions Limited (UKMS) has been fined 80,000 for sending 1.3m spam text messages to mobile phone users in the ICO's crackdown on such companies.

UKMS bought the phone numbers from brokers, encouraging victims to apply for PPI, even if they were not aware they had signed up to such services when taking out credit cards or loans.

However, the company was fined for not first checking the mobile phone users had opted in to receive marketing messages and as such, was operating against the law.

The ICO said almost 1,500 people complained directly to the regulator and using the text message spam line 7726 set up by the organisation during UKMS's intensive marketing campaign between April and June this year.

"UKMS relied on their data suppliers' word that the people on the lists had agreed to be contacted. That's simply not good enough," Andy Curry, enforcement manager at the ICO, said.

"UKMS should have known that the responsibility to ensure they had the right consent to send messages to people rests with them."

The regulator intends to send out fines totalling 250,000 to three companies who have been sending out unsolicited text messages promoting their services. So far, the ICO has collected more than 1m in fines from companies sending unsolicited text messages to prospects.

Working with the Claims Management Regulation Unit (CMRU), the ICO will also audit an additional five claims management companies to ensure they are complying with the law.

The next stage in the ICO's crackdown on nuisance marketing text messages is to contact the brokers who sell such marketing lists to find out how they collect the data and comply with the law when it comes to selling these lists on.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.