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Firm fined £200,000 for sending millions of spam texts

The Information Commissioner’s Office said 2,100 people complained about receiving the texts between July 2016 and October 2017.

A tax returns company has been fined £200,000 for sending 14.8 million spam texts.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said London-based Tax Returned sent the marketing texts between July 2016 and October 2017, leading to more than 2,100 complaints from recipients.

Tax Returned should have taken reasonable steps to make sure the data they obtained complied with the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulation (PECR), which includes getting specific and prior consent from people receiving the messages.

Spam texts are a real nuisance to people across the country and this firm’s failure to follow the rules drove over 2,100 people to complain Information Commissioner's Office

The firm also claimed that some of the consents were received through generic third party consent forms found on privacy policies of websites.

But the ICO found that the wording of the policies was not clear enough and neither Tax Returned nor the third party service provider were listed on most of those privacy policies.

Steve Eckersley, ICO’s director of investigations, said: “Spam texts are a real nuisance to people across the country and this firm’s failure to follow the rules drove over 2,100 people to complain.

“Firms using third party marketing services need to double-check whether they have valid consent from people to send promotional text messages to them.

“Generic third party consent is also not enough and companies will be fined if they break the law.”

People can report nuisance calls, texts and emails at ico.org.uk. Spam texts can also be reported by forwarding them to 7726.

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