ICO fines loan company for illegal marketing

7th November 2016

A company that sent out 2.2 million illegal marketing text messages has been fined £70,000 and ordered to stop by the ICO. The penalty was issued to London-based Nouveau Finance Ltd, a company which provides a loan matching service.

Although there were only 92 complaints made about the messages, an ICO investigation revealed that Nouveau Finance Ltd had sent out over two million messages without consent. The business, which is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), contracted a marketing services company to carry out the six-month-long text campaign, but failed to check that this company had complied with the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR). People had not given permission to receive the messages and the company didn’t identify who they were from. All of these failings broke the law.

Steve Eckersley, the ICO’s Head of Enforcement said: “Relying on another company to do your marketing is not a get-out clause when it comes to the law. If your business has instigated a campaign, you are responsible and it’s up to you to make sure it meets the requirements of some very strict regulations. Our investigation found that despite relying heavily on direct marketing for its business, the company did not seem to understand the rules around electronic marketing and that’s not good enough.It’s against the law for a business to send text messages to people when they haven’t given specific consent to receive them. Alongside the fine, the ICO has also issued an enforcement notice ordering the company to stop sending unlawful texts in the future. If the company does not comply with the notice, it could face court action.”