Sports Direct, Webuyanycar and Saga fined £450K for nuisance messages

Sports Direct, Webuyanycar and Saga are fined £450,000 after sending 354 MILLION nuisance texts and emails to EVERYONE in the UK more than five times each

  • We Buy Any Car was charged £200K over 191m emails and 3.6m nuisance texts
  • Saga Services Ltd and Saga Personal Finance slapped with £150K and £75K fines
  • Meanwhile, Sports Direct was fined £70K for sending 2.5m emails, said the ICO
  • Companies didn’t have permission to send marketing messages from recipients

Sports Direct, We Buy Any Car and Saga have been fined £450,000 after sending 354million nuisance texts and emails to every person in the UK over five times each.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said it had charged We Buy Any Car £200,000 for sending 191million emails and 3.6million nuisance texts.

Saga Services Ltd and Saga Personal Finance, both parts of the cruise ship group, were also slapped with £150,000 and £75,000 fines. Between them they had instigated more than 157million emails, said the ICO. 

Meanwhile, Sports Direct was fined £70,000 for sending 2.5million emails.

None of the companies had gained permission to send marketing emails or texts from the people who received them. This is against the law, the ICO said.

Sports Direct, We Buy Any Car and Saga have been fined £450,000 after sending 354million nuisance texts and emails to every person in the UK more than five times each

Sports Direct was fined £70,000 for sending 2.5million emails. The company was unable to show any evidence of consent from targets of a ‘re-engagement campaign’ (file photo)

Andy Curry, ICO head of investigations, said: ‘Getting a ping on your phone or constant unwanted messages on your laptop from a company you don’t want to hear from is frustrating and intrusive.

‘These companies should have known better. Today’s fines show the ICO will tackle unsolicited marketing, irrespective of whether the messages have been orchestrated by a small business or organisation, or a leading household name.

‘The law remains the same and we hope today’s action sends out a deterrent message that members of the public must have their choices and privacy respected.’

Customers who asked for an online valuation of their vehicles on We Buy Any Car were later sent unlawful messages with marketing without their consent, the regulator said.

The emails and millions of text messages were sent between April 2019 and April last year.

Third-party companies hired by two Saga units used lists of people who had not given permission for the company to contact them to send emails between November 2018 and May 2019.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said it had charged We Buy Any Car (logo pictured) £200,000 for sending 191million emails and 3.6million nuisance texts

Saga Services Ltd and Saga Personal Finance, both parts of the cruise ship group, were also slapped with £150,000 and £75,000 fines. Between them they had instigated more than 157million emails, said the ICO

The companies relied on ‘indirect consent’ from recipients, the ICO said, but recent rule changes have meant this is not enough.

And Sports Direct was unable to show any evidence of consent from targets of a ‘re-engagement campaign’, which contacted those customers that it had not been in touch with some time.

Mr Curry said: ‘Companies that want to send direct marketing messages must first have people’s consent and people must understand what they are consenting to when they hand over their personal information.

‘The same rules apply even when companies use third parties to send messages on their behalf.’

Since the financial year started in April, the ICO has issued 17 fines totalling over £1.7million for breaking direct marketing laws.

None of the companies had gained permission to send marketing emails or texts from the people who received them. This is against the law, the ICO said (file photo)

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