back to article Brit loan firm gets comeuppance for 7.7 million spam texts

The UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has fined a financial firm £130,000 after it sent out over seven million spam texts flogging credit cards. Manchester-based Intelligent Lending, trading as Ocean Finance, has also received an enforcement notice forcing it to stop sending out the spam, after it had sent out 7.7 …

  1. Ol' Grumpy
    Thumb Up

    Good! :)

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Whilst the number of customers who complained was tiny, 0.4% the number who were pissed off was significantly higher, perhaps 100%.

    £130K isn't enough for these shysters. They should be forced to delete 7.7M SMS messages by hand on a old Nokia 3110 as punishment.

    1. Darryl

      Exactly. Only 1900 complaints, but over 7 million people muttering "Fucking spammers" before deleting the text and blocking the sender. And 7 million potential clients gone forever.

      1. Proud Father

        Fine should be £1 per spam text. That will (or should) be a deterrent.

        1. Neil 8

          So... <2p per text?

          £130K for 7.7m texts is... 1.6p per text

          This seems like an acceptable cost of doing business, rather than a fine.

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          "Fine should be £1 per spam text."

          No, emulate the USA where victims are entitled to $500 statutory damages per call/SMS/fax. (tripled if the target is in the TPS/FPS, etc)

          That makes it worthwhile for individuals to file in small claims. Death of 1 million paper cuts (and going bankrupt doesn't protect you from court awards)

    2. Martin Summers Silver badge

      "£130K isn't enough for these shysters. They should be forced to delete 7.7M SMS messages by hand on a old Nokia 3110 as punishment."

      Oh you're twisted, I like you!

    3. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

      with no battery

      1. tfewster Silver badge

        and broken fingers

  3. Richard Jones 1
    Flame

    Sad Aside

    Sadly many people feel they are the only one and finding out how to moan or complain can be a distraction they do not want. I have complained from time to time but it is not always easy or a very satisfactory process.

    Icon suggests a better punishment for offenders.

    It is a shame there is no 'do not spam' list anywhere.

    1. Proud Father

      Re: Sad Aside

      >> It is a shame there is no 'do not spam' list anywhere.

      There is, but they just ignore it.

      1. Swarthy Silver badge
        Pirate

        Re: Sad Aside

        More accurately, they get the "Do Not Spam" list and use it as a listing of name/numbers/addresses to send spam to.

    2. Jason 24

      Re: Sad Aside

      Complaining about a text is easy, forward it to 7726 (SPAM).

      You'll get a text back asking for the sender number if it wasn't forwarded on.

      Used to do this quite a lot, not had to in at least 6 months though, wonder if that's because my number made it to the "don't send it here, he'll bother to forward it on as a complaint" list.

  4. N2 Silver badge

    Good

    But why is the fine set so low?

    Only by being complete utter bastards to the low life, scumbag, ahole spam companies will they eventually realise...

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Good

      "But why is the fine set so low?"

      Because there's no statutory damages, which means that higher fines have resulted in the spammer sucessfully challenging it in court.

  5. lglethal Silver badge

    If (and its a big if!)

    If this firm had actually audited the data from the third party and had signed contracts specifying that the data had to be all above board, etc. then they can happily pass on the fine (and there own fee on top) for breach of contract by the marketing firm. And guess what? They're laywers so that would be easy for them to do.

    The fact that there not doing that, says quite clearly that they are talking out there a$$e$!

    1,7p per text is hardly an appropriate punishment if you asked me. Maybe we should calculate it based on the fee these bastards charge per hour for their own time - what do lawyers go for these days? £1000/hour? So assume 30 seconds to look at text, mumble "bloody spam" and hit delete. 30 sec at £1000/hour thats £33,33 per text. So that would be a fee of £256,641,000. THAT sounds like a reasonable fee to me...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The marketing firm was probably ZoomInfo

    The "marketing firm" they bought the lists from was probably ZoomInfo.

    It seems a fairly common source for idiot spammers, who don't realise ZoomInfo seems to assemble lists from scraping web pages, DNS records, etc. Literally useless data for effective marketing.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Meh

    Will this change anything?

    Will it fuck.

  8. Just Enough

    Fantasy World

    I don't know about you, but I always base my choice of credit cards on random unsolicited SMS texts from companies I've previously had no dealings with. I find it the most secure and reassuring method of handling my finances. This is why I am among the 99.96% of people who were bloody delighted to receive Ocean Finance's spam. Why must the moaning 0.04% spoil it for everyone?

    That's right, I do live in the same crazy fantasy world that Ocean Finance's marketing director lives in.

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Fantasy World

      > but I always base my choice of credit cards on random unsolicited SMS texts from companies I've

      >previously had no dealings with

      Much in the same way as I hire (even though I have nothing to do with recruitment) people based on random CVs sent to me by scumbags^W recruiters who have bought my work email address from the shysters^W marketing companies who run exhibitions[1].

      [1] Yes - I was young and foolish once - sufficiently so to give my *actual* email address to companies as part of the exhibition signup. Never again.

  9. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Presumably they have some sort of banking licence. Terminate it. If they haven't, pass the penalty up to the credit card issuers.

  10. JustNiz

    130k isn't nearly enough.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'd like to know how many new credit cards were signed up as a result. That would give some insight as to how effective this approach actually is, and whether the fine was appropriate.

    1. Hans 1 Silver badge
      Happy

      >I'd like to know how many new credit cards were signed up as a result.

      Sadly, we have a great many brain-dead people who would say: "Well, I have 5 or 10 credit cards already, and am in hopeless dept, I could do with another for that fancy foot bath massage thingy I saw on telly the other day - that lady in the ad was hot!!!! - and I still have room in the attic in case I do not actually need it ...

      Then again, those who requested a card were not spammed, all the others were ...

      1. Jedit

        "those who requested a card were not spammed"

        Spam is an unsolicited mass mailing. It doesn't matter whether you want what is being sold or not, if you didn't sign up to receive the information it was spam. Some people are just dumb enough to respond to spam.

        Regarding the size of the fine: it was most likely based on the profits made from the spamming, plus a bit extra.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lies, damned lies, and Databases

    The problem with many current database companies is they scrape data from each other and anywhere they can.

    My employer is listed on a number of business lists but another unrelated company with the same company name but without "(UK)" is also on those lists, our artwork, website, contacts etc. are show against this other firm but trying to get the details cleaned up is pointless they just say "yes we will do that" and then do nothing. We get constant sales calls (despite being listed as no cold calls) for the other company, eventually to save time I looked up the contact for this multi million pound company on the same database and called them, turns out their "listed number" is actually a seamstress in Gloucester who is also tired of getting calls.

    It's bollocks but the online database company (allegedly) leave the incorrect details on their site so they can charge £10 for "further details". Then other firms are sold, or seed their data from this list.

    The other thing is name, my name is the same as a chap who runs some company in London, we are constantly getting offers of data lines for central London, despite being in the south west.

    Databases are valuable it seems, even if full of ordure.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Small percentages can sound insignificant, it all depends on the context. If we were to apply the quoted 0.04% complaints in another context, would you fly with an airline boasting "only 0.04% of our flights crash".

  14. Yugguy

    Goodbye

    I had a hilarious spam call the other day.

    Silence, then a recorded voice said "goodbye" and the call cut off.

    I was so amused I forgot to be annoyed.

  15. Marc 25

    £130,000?

    Seems like a small fine to me.

    Ocean make that sort of money in interest from a £100 loan right?

  16. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    Unwelcome?

    "a very small minority of consumers found our SMS marketing for the Ocean Credit Card last year unwelcome."

    As other have said, Ocena are effectively saying that anyone who didn't complain must have "welcomed" the marketing drivel. What pant does this guy live on? If 99.96% of recipients "welcomed" this "message", how come the directors of Ocean have not retired to private Caribbean islands on the commissions from 4,500,000+ newly issued Capital One credit cards?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Spam spam spam spam!

    *dons viking helmet*

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