Vanquis Bank is among the latest firms to be fined by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for sending illegal marketing texts and emails.

Vanquis Bank based in Bradford, instigated a campaign to send 870,849 spam text messages and 620,000 spam emails to promote its credit cards. Both the emails and texts broke the law because the recipients had not consented to being sent such messages. Vanquis Bank has now been fined £75,000 by the ICO.

In a separate case, London company Xerpla has been fined £50,000 by the ICO. The firm sent nearly 1.26 million spam emails promoting products and services as far ranging as dog food, wine, competitions and boilers on behalf of other firms. Xerpla did not have the right consent needed from people to send the emails.

ICO Head of Enforcement Steve Eckersley said: “There are rules in place to protect people from the irritation, and in some cases anxiety and distress, spam texts and emails cause.”

“People need to be properly informed about what they are consenting to. Telling them their details could be passed to ‘similar organisations’ or ‘selected third parties’ cannot be relied upon as specific consent. “People were so exasperated by these messages that they complained to us. That sparked two ICO investigations and enabled us to take action and hold the firms behind this nuisance to account.”

“These firms should have taken responsibility for ensuring they had obtained clear and specific consent for the sending of the messages. They didn’t and that is unacceptable.”