MoneySuperMarket has been fined £80,000 for sending millions of unwanted marketing emails even when clients opted-out in receiving emails.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which forced the fine on MoneySuperMarket.com Ltd, said the rate comparison site sent millions of emails to clients who had given it clear they did not want to be reached in that manner.
The organisation sent 7.1 million emails over ten days informing clients with its terms and provisions. Receivers had earlier opted out of direct marketing.
MoneySuperMarket’s email involved a section labelled “preference centre update” which read:
“We hold an email address for you which means we could be sending you personalised news, products and promotions.
“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 emails.”
The ICO said inviting people to agree to future marketing communications when they have previously opted out is a violation of the law.
MoneySuperMarket sent the letters between November 30 and December 10, 2016. The ICO’s study affirmed 6,788,496 were successfully obtained.
ICO head of enforcement Steve Eckersley stated: “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 the consumer gives their consent. They don’t get a chance to persuade people to change their minds.”
Mr Eckersley proceeded to say: “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.”
A comment from MoneySuperMarket said: “At MoneySuperMarket, we take the protection of our customers’ data and privacy very seriously.
“We apologise unreservedly to the customers affected by this isolated incident, and we have put measures in place to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”