EE has been given a £100,000 fine by The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for sending out more than 2.5 million messages in 2018 to customers without their consent.
The watchdog ruled that while the mobile network did not deliberately try to bend the rules, it was guilty of sending direct marketing to customers who had not agreed to receive it.
Under current regulations, electronic marketing can only be sent to existing customers who have given consent and if an easy way of opting out of such marketing is available.
EE argued that the messages were sent as service messages, and therefore didn’t qualify as electronic marketing, but the ICO didn’t agree with this. 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.”
A spokesperson for EE said: “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.”