The telecoms company has been fined £100,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for sending direct marketing messages to its customers, without consent.

The company had sent over 2.5 million direct marketing messages in early 2018, encouraging customers to access and manage the “My EE” app and upgrade their phone. If customers had not engaged with the first set of messages, the second batch of messages were sent.

EE had claimed during the investigation that the texts were sent as service messages, hence it was not covered by electronic marketing rules, however, the ICO had found that the messages contained direct marketing which EE had sent them deliberately but not deliberately to breach electronic marketing laws.

As a result, the company has been fined £100,000 for violating the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003.

Andy White, ICO Director of Investigations said:

“These were marketing messages which promoted the company’s products and services. 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 includes a marketing or promotional element must comply with the relevant legislation or could face a fine up to £500,000.”

In a statement EE had said it accepted the ICO’s findings:

“We’re committed to ensuring our customers are fully aware of their options throughout the life of their contract, and we apologise to the customers who received these messages.”

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