2.7 million spam text messages sent during the pandemic - latest major ICO fines

Two companies have been fined £330,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office for sending nuisance text messages during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

West Sussex-based Leads Works Limited was fined £250,000 for sending over 2.6million text messages to consumers without their valid consent. These messages, sent between 16th m

May and 26th June 2020. resulted in a record 10,000 complaints to the ICO.  The messages sought to capitalise on the pandemic by promoting income-generation schemes through Avon, despite the ICO’s investigation finding that Avon did not send or instigate the text messages.

 

Leads Works Limited has also been issued with an enforcement notice requiring it to stop sending unlawful direct marketing messages.

 

Manchester-based Valca Vehicle Ltd was found to have sent more than 95,000 text messages between June and July 2020 without recipients’ permission. The messages, once again, referenced the pandemic and were designed to appeal to individuals whose finances had been adversely affected. The Commissioner considered this a clear attempt to capitalise on, and profit from, the health crisis.

 

Valca Vehicle, which generates leads for debt management products, via its ‘Debtquity’ brand, has also been issued with an enforcement notice requiring it to stop sending unlawful direct marketing messages.