13th October 2017

Vanquis Bank fined over illegal marketing

A bank is the latest firm to be fined by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for sending illegal marketing texts and emails. Vanquis Bank Limited, based in Bradford, instigated a campaign to send 870,849 spam text messages and 620,000 spam emails to promote its credit cards. Both the emails and texts broke the law because the recipients had not consented to being sent such messages.

ICO Head of Enforcement Steve Eckersley said: “There are rules in place to protect people from the irritation, and in some cases anxiety and distress, spam texts and emails cause. People need to be properly informed about what they are consenting to. Telling them their details could be passed to ‘similar organisations’ or ‘selected third parties’ cannot be relied upon as specific consent.”

Vanquis Bank obtained the marketing lists used to send the messages from other organisations. It relied on indirect consent rather than checking itself that the correct level of consent had been obtained. The consent included non-specific, general wording, such as ‘trusted parties’ and ‘carefully selected third parties’.

Vanquis Bank has now been fined £75,000 by the ICO. The ICO has also issued a legal notice ordering the bank to ensure its practices comply with the law.