Ever had an annoying payday loans text? Well justice is being served.
Payday loans company First Financial has suffered something of a smackdown for sending millions of unlawful spam texts. The Information Commission Office (ICO) slapped the money lenders with a penalty of £175,000 after an investigation discovered it was acting unlawfully.
First Financial sent messages to mobile phone owners claiming to be one of the recipient’s friends, telling them they had been given significant amounts of cash and a Web URL to visit so they could do the same. The spam texts were sent using un-registered SIM cards in order to avoid detection.
First Financial’s former director, Hamed Shabani, was prosecuted in October after failing to notify the ICO of his company’s processing of personal information, a legal requirement under the Data Protection Act. He was fined £1,180 despite claiming to have no affiliation with the company.
Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PERC) rules require companies to obtain a person’s permission before sending marketing content by text. 4,301 complaints were made against messages sent by First Financial, who had not obtained consent to send the texts.
ICO director of operations, Simon Entwisle, said: “We will continue to target these companies that continue to blight the daily lives of people across the UK. We are also currently speaking with the government to get the legal bar lowered, allowing us to take action at a much earlier stage.”