The ICO has ordered Sweet Media Ltd, a lead generation company, to stop sending nuisance texts.
The enforcement notice was issued after the ICO raided a SIM farm in Wolverhampton last May. SIM cards and computer equipment were seized and the subsequent investigation revealed the company had sent over 4.5million text messages over an eight-month period.
The ICO was alerted to the company thanks to 796 complaints to the office and the ‘7726’ spam text reporting service. The marketing texts were on a range of subjects including debt management, payday loans, pension reviews, mortgage mis-selling, gambling and credit cards.
Andy Curry, Enforcement Manager at the ICO, said: “There’s no excuse for nuisance texts. Bombarding people’s phones with unwanted marketing messages is against the law. Thanks to this enforcement notice there should be one less company annoying people.”
Curry explained that the action is a direct result of complaints to the ICO office, and the raid on the company’s Wolverhampton offices is a clear example of the ICO’s comprehensive work to tackle spam texts and nuisance calls.
It is a breach of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations to send text messages to people for marketing purposes without their prior consent, and anyone who receives an unsolicited text message should avoid replying and report the message using the tool available on the ICO website.