Price comparison website Moneysupermarket.com Ltd has been fined £80,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for sending millions of emails to customers who had made it clear they didn’t want to be contacted in that way.
The company 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.
Moneysupermarket’s email included a section entitled ‘Preference Centre Update’ which read:
“We hold an e-mail address for you which means we could be sending you personalised news, products and promot¡ons. 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.”
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.”
Moneysupermarket sent the messages between 30 November and 10 December 2016. The ICO’s investigation found that 6,788,496 were successfully received.
Mr Eckersley 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.”