UK: ICO fines Leads Work Limited £250,000 for sending marketing messages without consent
The Information Commissioner's Office ('ICO') announced, on 5 March 2021, that it had issued, on 1 March 2021, a monetary penalty notice to Leads Work Limited in which it imposed a fine of £250,000 for sending 2,670,140 marketing text messages to individuals without their consent, resulting in excess of 10,000 complaints, over a period of 41 days, in breach of Regulation 22 of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 ('PECR'). In particular, the ICO outlined that the texts seemed to be misleadingly sent by Avon Cosmetics Limited and that Leads Work accepted that it had deliberately failed to identify itself in the body of the texts as the sender, to avoid confusing recipients.
Furthermore, the ICO highlighted that Leads Work had continued to run the marketing campaign both during, and since the ICO's investigation, without attempting to amend or review its practices. In addition, the ICO stated, among other things, that Leads Work failed to be completely open and transparent in relation to the enquiry and inform the ICO in its response to enquiries about marketing methods that it had also conducted email marketing. Lastly, the ICO noted that there were no mitigating factors to be considered.