Flybe and Honda have been fined a total of £83,000 by the ICO for breaking the rules about how people’s personal information should be treated when sending marketing emails.
Flybe deliberately sent more than 3.3 million emails to people who had told them they didn’t want to receive marketing communications from the firm.
The emails advised recipients to amend any out of date information and update their marketing preferences. The email also said that by updating their preferences, people would be entered into a prize draw.
The airline was fined £70,000 for breaking the Privacy and Electronic Communication Regulations (PECR).
Honda Motor Europe committed a similar breach of PECR when it sent 289,790 emails aiming to clarify customers’ choices for receiving marketing.
The firm believed the emails were not classed as marketing but instead were customer service emails to help the company prepare for next May’s GDPR. Honda couldn’t provide evidence that the customers had ever given consent to receive this type of email, and was fined £13,000.
Steve Eckersley, ICO Head of Enforcement, said sending emails to determine whether people want to receive marketing without the right consent, is still marketing and is against the law.
The ICO urged any company unsure of the best way to prepare for the change in consent under GDPR to contact it for advice.
“Businesses must understand they can’t break one law to get ready for another,” concluded Eckersley.