- The ICO found that BT did not have customer consent to send the emails
- Fine will be reduced by 20% to £61,000 if paid by 20 July
BT has been slapped with a £77,000 fine after dishing out nearly 5million nuisance emails to its customers.
Despite not having customers’ consent to send direct marketing emails, BT fired out 4.9million emails between December 2015 and November 2016 promoting three charity initiatives.
BT was promoting the following charity initiatives: the BT ‘My Donate’ platform, Giving Tuesday and Stand Up To Cancer.
Fined: BT has been slapped with a £77,000 fine after dishing out nearly 5million nuisance emails to its customers
An investigation was launched after the Information Commissioner’s Office received a complaint from a customer who claimed to have received an ‘unsolicited direct marketing’ email from BT, despite having previously opted out of receiving such emails.
Steve Eckersley, head of the ICO, said: ‘Organisations have a responsibility to ensure they are acting within the law. Where they do not, the ICO can and will take action.
‘This particular investigation was prompted by a concerned member of the public. We investigated the matter and uncovered the full extent of this activity which shows how important it is for people to report nuisance emails.’
If BT pays the fine by 20 July, it will receive a 20 per cent reduction and only have to pay £61,600.
The ICO said all of the emails constituted marketing and were not simply service messages.
It found that although BT did not deliberately break the rules, it should have known the risks and it failed to take reasonable steps to prevent them.
BT had tried to argue that the emails sent to customers regarding its ‘My Donate’ platform constituted a ‘service message’ and was therefore outside the scope of rules dealing with direct marketing. The ICO said the emails could not be defined as service messages.
The ICO is not keeping the £77,000 fine, but is sending it to the Consolidated Fund, which is the government’s general bank account at the Bank of England.
Tough talk: The ICO said all of the emails constituted marketing and were not simply service messages