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Company fined £140,000 for sending 4.4m spam text messages

AN INFORMATION COMMISSIONER’S OFFICE investigation has resulted a locally registered marketing firm being fined £140,000 for sending around 4.4 million spam texts.

The ICO found Pembrokeshire firm PRS Media Ltd, trading as Purus Digital, did not have the consent of the 4.4 million people it sent marketing texts to.

The company, based in Dale in Haverfordwest, said that the information used to send the text messages had been obtained from its own competition website.

People were required to sign up to marketing as a condition of entering competitions on the firm’s website. This was not considered to be proper consent.

The website’s privacy policy told people their details would be shared with third parties but the law says that is not specific enough.

People must give consent to receive marketing text messages. The law says that people must have a genuine choice over whether or not to consent to marketing.

Ken Macdonald, Head of ICO Regions, said: “Nuisance marketing, whether it’s by calls to people’s landline or mobile, or through spam texts, causes disruption, annoyance and, in the worst cases, serious upset.

“We issue fines like these to firms behind nuisance marketing to send a clear message that such action will not be tolerated.”

He added: “The ICO is looking forward to the commencement of our new powers, announced by the government last year, which will allow us to fine the directors of nuisance marketing firms as well as the companies themselves. This will enable us to take even more of a stand against the firms causing distress and intrusion to people’s lives.”

On contacting a representative of the registered office of the company The Herald was told that the firm is using the address in Dale as a mail forwarding address and that the firm is not actually physically based there.

Mr Fry of Expost.uk told The Herald: “The company used box number A474 and their account is due to be closed for non-payment of contracted fees. The firm is not responding to emails and their mail forwarding account has a negative balance. We are holding several pieces of mail for them, the most recent dated June 13. I would not be surprised if some of these letters were from the ICO.”

According to their website the firm trades in the USA, Cyprus and the UK and has clients such as Disney, Trivago, Qatar Airways and The Times.