back to article Brit bank fined £75k over 1.5 million text and email spamhammer

A Bradford-based bank has been fined by the UK's data privacy watchdog for sending illegal marketing texts and emails. Vanquis Bank Limited spammed 870,849 text messages and 620,000 emails to promote its credit cards without the recipients' consent, which is against the law. The bank obtained the marketing lists used to send …

  1. A K Stiles
    Meh

    Astounding fine!

    just over 8.5 pence per text message (ignoring the emails which probably got spam-filtered). Even including the original cost per message it's probably less than some people still pay to send a text!

    </sarcasm>

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Astounding fine!

      "just over 8.5 pence per text message "

      I wonder what the return rate is on these sorts of spams? I remember many years ago doing a half day"marketing awareness" course [*] and being told that cold mail shots to a targeted group was doing well if there was a 2% response, It may not cost much to do the spamming, but it may cost to get the lists and if the rate of return is low, the "cost" per live lead might be less trivial once the fine is added to the overall cost.

      * Not my job, but the boss thought all staff should at least have a basic understanding of what all the other departments did. It was actually quite useful.

  2. Chika

    My first reaction to this story

    About bloody time!

  3. Chika

    My first reaction to this story

    About bloody time!

    My second response...

    It's not enough!

  4. Terry 6 Silver badge
    Flame

    Pathetic

    We received hundreds of these emails (via spam bucket). Apparently offering a credit card aimed at people who can't afford credit. So also an insult.

    £75k is less than the average salary of a couple of middle managers. The bosses probably spend more than that on their lunches.

    1. DJO Silver badge

      Re: Pathetic

      Agreed, the level of fine is low enough for them to have the campaign, pay the fine and it's still cheaper than a mailshot.

      The fine should be a MINIMUM of the cost of a 2nd class stamp per mail sent.

      1. Cynical Observer
        Flame

        Re: Pathetic

        @DJO

        Not enough - that's only 56p per message.

        If the ICO/HM Gov really want to stamp this out then fines should be in the order of £2 per message sent (text or email makes no difference) and the liability for these fines is transferable to company directors in the event of the company liquidating/going bust. Hound the bastards all the way into personal bankruptcy if necessary.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Pathetic

          "If the ICO/HM Gov really want to stamp this out then fines should be in the order of £2 per message sent (text or email makes no difference) "

          Not fines, or at least not just fines. It should be personal compensation to the recipients.

        2. katrinab Silver badge

          Re: Pathetic

          Do a criminal property recovery for 100% of all income generated from the campaign, with no deductions for expenses, VAT, etc; following the same rules as for drug dealers etc.

  5. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

    Vanquis

    Are scum

  6. blcollier
    FAIL

    £75k is pocket change.

    Seriously. Fines like this show just how toothless the ICO can be. Obvs I don't know the numbers, but if they can generate even £85k revenue as a result of this campaign then they've made a profit and that will prove to their money men/managers that ignoring the rules can make good business sense.

    Fine them £1 per message/call, not £0.05 - then we'll see companies sit up and start taking compliance seriously.

    EDIT: I had a maths fail...

  7. adam payne Silver badge

    'The campaign resulted in a number of complaints, an investigation and ultimately a hefty £75,000 fine from the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).'

    I wouldn't call £75k a hefty fine. It's not enough, you start slapping people with fines in millions and they might just start to take notice.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    a hefty £75,000 fine

    was it a click bait? :(

  9. heyrick Silver badge
    Facepalm

    a hefty £75,000 fine

    You're kidding, right? My definition of the word "hefty" wouldn't even be met if the fine amounted to £1 per mail/text sent. The quoted £75K is laughable. It's pretty much saying "set aside some spare change for the inevitable fine, THEN SPAM EVERYBODY IN SIGHT".

  10. CliveS
    Flame

    Scummy bank gets off lightly

    See the title ^^^

  11. anonymousI

    Change the odds

    £75k (or even a bit more) after delayed prosecution will never deter them, as others have noted.

    One answer may be to start action earlier - and then have jail as an option for any further offences.

    It would need a change in thinking, as well as the law, but might focus some wayward minds.

  12. Nonymous Crowd Nerd

    £1 per text minimum

    We don't want to see text messages become unusable like many personal land lines have. This practice does need to be stamped out by proper concerted action. I agree with "Cynical Observer" that fines like this should be transferable to the directors if the company doesn't pay. The carrier should also share some liability as the gate keeper that has allowed a million plus spam texts onto the the system.

  13. Derichleau

    All the individuals affected can claim compensation as outlined in the Halfords article on this website:

    http://www.mindmydata.co.uk/

  14. Tubz

    All fines should be a percentage of turnover, no company allowed to go in to receivership until paid or the owners/board of directors/shareholders pay the fine.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The fine at a minimum should at least be the cost of a first class stamp. If I had my way it would a be a minimum of 4 times the cost of a first class stamp. Second time caught 5 times. Third time 6 times etc ,etc. Oh and management are fined 2 times the cost of a stamp per email,text,call. They pay this personally not the company. Oh and make it so the fines are not tax deductible and the company can not pass the cost onto the customers for 2 quarters.

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