Aggregator apologises for unsolicited emails
Moneysupermarket has apologised “unreservedly” after being fined £80,000 by the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) for sending millions of unsolicited emails to customers.
The price comparison site sent 7.1 million emails over 10 days updating customers with its terms and conditions, but all the recipients had previously opted out of direct marketing, the ICO said.
Moneysupermarket sent the emails between 30 November and 10 December 2016. The ICO’s investigation found that just under 6.8 million of the messages were successfully received.
A spokeswoman for Moneysupermarket said: “At Moneysupermarket, we take the protection of our customers’ data and privacy very seriously. We apologise unreservedly to the customers affected by this isolated incident and we have put measures in place to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”
Moneysupermarket’s email included a section titled ‘Preference Centre Update’ which read: “We hold an e-mail address for you which means we could be sending you personalised news, products and promotions. You’ve told us in the past you prefer not to receive these. If you’d like to reconsider, simply click the following link to start receiving our e-mails.”
Against the law
The ICO said asking people to consent to future marketing messages when they have already opted out is against the law.
ICO head of enforcement Steve Eckersley said: “Organisations can’t get around the law by sending direct marketing dressed up as legitimate updates.
“When people opt out of direct marketing, organisations must stop sending it, no questions asked, until such time as the consumer gives their consent. They don’t get a chance to persuade people to change their minds.”
He added: “Emails sent by companies to consumers under the guise of ‘customer service’, checking or seeking their consent, is a circumvention of the rules and is unacceptable. We will continue to take action against companies that choose to ignore the rules.”