EE HAS RECEIVED an expensive slap on the wrist from the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) for text messages sent out to customers.
The telecoms giant is £100,000 poorer after sending out 2.5 million direct marketing text messages to customers who had opted out. In total, 16.6 million messages were sent out earlier this year, of which 2.72 million had opted out.
A number of these weren't received, slightly mitigating the damage. EE then sent follow-up messages to those who hadn't engaged with the first, making things a bit worse.
EE claimed that the texts were "service messages" rather than marketing ones, but while they encouraged customers to take advantage of the My EE app, they also invited them to upgrade their phone. As a result, the ICO "found the messages contained direct marketing and that the company sent them deliberately," though it "acknowledges that EE did not deliberately set out to breach electronic marketing laws."
As Andy White, the ICO's director of investigations, said: "The direct marketing guidance is clear: if a message that contains customer service information also includes promotional material to buy extra products for services, it is no longer a service message and electronic marketing rules apply.
"EE Limited were aware of the law and should have known that they needed customers' consent to send them in line with the direct marketing rules. Companies should be aware that texts and emails providing service information which also include a marketing or promotional element must comply with the relevant legislation or could face a fine up to £500,000."
If we were EE executives looking at this from a ‘glass half full' approach, we'd probably conclude that this is not £100,000 lost, but £400,000 saved. Which is probably why we're not EE executives. µ
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