back to article EE-k, a hundred grand! BT's mobile arm slapped for sending 2.5m+ unwanted texts

EE, the mobile operator arm of BT, is nursing a six-figure fine for texting more than 2.5 million pain-in-the-ass direct marketing messages to customers without their consent. The £100,000 penalty handed down by the UK's Information Commissioner's Office (PDF) was for sending mailers in early 2018 that pestered punters to …

  1. Jet Set Willy

    So that's all right then

    You seem to have missed the "So that's all right then" phrase at the end.

  2. Ben Tasker Silver badge

    > We’re committed to ensuring our customers are fully aware of their options throughout the life of their contract

    Even those who've told us not to....

  3. Lee D Silver badge

    I'm not an EE customer, but to ALL telecoms providers (and others!):

    Stop sending me junk.

    All is does is make me use your services *LESS*, not more.

    I always opt-out, mainly because then I want to know who *can't* understand a simple customer request (or secure their customer database) or who wilfully goes against such requests, so I can adjust my purchasing decisions accordingly.

    P.S. I couldn't care less about your app, either. Even if it was just a service message, go away. If I said no texts, I'll suffer no texts. Unless it's about "everything is broke and isn't going to work, we're working on it" or "we're about to cut you off because you haven't paid your bill", then I don't want to know.

    P.P.S. Send me one of those American-style missing child alerts at 4am, when the child is in another state, and they happen almost every evening. Go on. I dare you. As it is, the phone number I give out to people is actually connected to a 4G Wifi box that can't ring, start playing games with me and I'll just carry one of those around with me and have my phone only connect to its Wifi so you can't even do that.

  4. Blockchain commentard Silver badge
    Facepalm

    "and we’re working to improve our internal processes" so junk texts look like service messages as far as ICO are concerned.

  5. Nick Kew

    I'm deprived!

    I'm an EE customer. Why didn't I get the message?

    Must be that my opting out of junkmail worked. In fact, I don't think I even opted out, I just didn't opt in to anything when I signed up with them.

    This was all pre-GDPR, of course.

  6. Jemma Silver badge

    EE

    Everything Expensively

    Thanks to the Ononokin books for that one. So very very true.

    And they're related to BT - yet another reason to consider them as human scum.

  7. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Should be higher

    Fine should be higher, given EE sending ads to people who opted out of messages, and given the bullshit excuse they have of possibly thing "Upgrade your phone!!!" is NOT an advertisement.

  8. Terry 6 Silver badge

    100 grand. Umpteen million spam messages.

    Sounds like a sound investment then. < £0.04 each.

  9. Teiwaz Silver badge

    BT switched my PAYG a/c last weekend, like a yappy dog, 3 texts prior to switch and several since.

    At least they've not embarrassed themselves hounding me about an app - the phone is an Orange 'Rio'

  10. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    “We accept the ICO’s findings"

    That actually makes a nice change from recent reports of regulator cases. The usual response seems to be "we don't accept the findings" and even "the regulator was too stupid to understand the technology" or words to that effect.

  11. tip pc Silver badge
    Facepalm

    So EE can't now tell its customers to upgrade to a cheaper plan if they've opted out?

    Stupid interpretation of the rules here.

    If EE wanted to notify its customers that they've come to the end of their plan and can save significant sums by changing to another plan or trade in their old phone for a new one they legally can't now if they've opted out.

    This is just stupid shortsightedness. I agree they shouldn't just bombard with marketing but warning customers they can save money if they downloaded an app and managed their account online is surely a positive.

    1. paulf Silver badge
      Alert

      Re: So EE can't now tell its customers to upgrade to a cheaper plan if they've opted out?

      You must be a marketing droid. "Why on earth would customers not want to hear about our great deals?!"

      If I've opted out then I'VE OPTED OUT! If it means I don't get a reminder to upgrade my phone or change tariff that's my problem. The bottom line here, as TFA points out, "the mobile operator distributed 16.6 million messages to customers..., and 2.59 million of these were to people who had opted out of receiving marketing messages via text.", is that people either didn't consent to the messages in the first place or specifically opted out of them. EE knew this and tried to blag their way out by claiming they were service messages which wasn't the case.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: So EE can't now tell its customers to upgrade to a cheaper plan if they've opted out?

      Granularity is a thing and easily settable via a website or an app, if EE wanted to.

    3. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: So EE can't now tell its customers to upgrade to a cheaper plan if they've opted out?

      It's a marketing message. Even if it would be a thing I'm interested in, it's marketing. If I stopped you on the street today and said I was selling laptops for any piece of scrap paper (always assuming I was being honest), I'd be marketing to you even though you would probably see how many pieces of paper you could find in your bag. This is the deal with advertising. Sometimes, it actually tells people about things they decide they want. Sometimes, it is an annoying intrusion. Those two sets aren't necessarily mutually distinct. This is why we have things like opt out/in methods for customers to tell places whether they want to see the ads; I have opted in to some communications and opted out to others because I've decided what I want to see.

  12. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

    EE ... did not deliberately set out to breach electronic marketing laws ...

    Of course they did. Then they lied to get away with it, and the ICO bought it hook, line and sinker.

    As Terry 6 mentions above, this 100k is an investment that very likely paid off.

  13. CountCadaver Bronze badge

    didn't even mention BT phone spamming EE Business account holders

    Wife got MONTHS and MONTHS of BT phoning her post swallowing of EE "would you be interested in moving your phone line to BT?" "We could potentially save your business thousands" "we could supply you with a dedicated landline for your business"

    This despite being told by her "NO, stop phoning me" EVERYTIME, I think I told them to Foxtrot Oscar in the end as they then started calling the landline also

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