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News : Call Centre Help Direct Fined Over Thousands of Spam Texts
Swansea, UK, Oct 27, 2015 -- Swansea-based Help Direct UK Ltd used unregistered SIM cards to send the messages, a common practice by companies trying to avoid the mobile networks' spam detectors, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) said.
A campaign run by the company in April prompted 6,758 complaints by people who received messages offering services such as PPI claims, bank refunds and loans.
A typical badly-worded text read: "Its been signed off, we have 3886.41 in your name for the accident you had, for us to put in your bank."
One complainant said they had never had an accident and were concerned that someone could be fraudulently using their identity.
Another person said they were concerned they may have unknowingly caused an accident.
The ICO issued an enforcement notice seven months ago ordering Help Direct to stop sending marketing texts after a previous investigation showed it had sent 187,960 messages last year, many offering pension reviews.
The ICO said breaching an enforcement notice was a criminal offence and it was now considering further action.
ICO assistant commissioner for Wales, Anne Jones, said: "This was a marketing campaign on a massive scale from a company who has already been warned by us to stop sending these marketing messages.
"Help Direct has deliberately broken the law by continuing to send these messages, which is why the company has received the first monetary penalty under our new powers.
"Help Direct's actions are unacceptable and we will act to stop companies behaving in this way. We have the power to prosecute anyone ignoring our enforcement notices and, as well as the fine, Help Direct can expect even more action from us."
The Help Direct fine is the first under new rules that came into effect in April removing the requirement for the ICO to prove that a company caused 'substantial damage or substantial distress' to individuals.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About Help Direct UK Ltd:
Help Direct Uk Ltd is a Telecommunications company located in 1a Upper Fforest Way, Llansamlet, United Kingdom.
Published: Wednesday, October 28, 2015