Thursday, 06 December 2012 00:00

Phone companies face charges over spam emails

Written by Richard

Mobile phone companies 3G Ireland, Meteor and Carphone Warehouse have pleaded guilty to data protection charges after sending unsolicited spam emails and texts to their customers.

All three admitted to sending promotional messages to mobile users who hadn't opted-in to receive company updates. Following investigations by the Data Protection Commission, it's thought each will face fines of up to 5,000 Euros (£4,070) per offence.

Talking to independent.ie, one customer claimed to have received a number of email offers from Carphone Warehouse despite asking the company to stop sending him the messages. The court was told that all companies investing in email marketing must offer an unsubscribe facility in the event of a customer wanting to "opt-out" or be held accountable for their actions.

The second customer claimed to have received a number of emails from the company and had never been given the option to unsubscribe.

In light of these incidents, Carphone Warehouse pleaded guilty to two offences after sending emails "better known as spam" on February 14, 2012 and November 29 of last year.

The court also heard that mobile network Meteor sent a promotional text message to a customer in June 2011. Irishexaminer.com says the customer had already opted out of receiving promotional messages and "it came as a surprise he had to complain again."

Meteor says this was a result of a "human error" which saw up to 18,500 promotional messages being sent to customers. Judge John O'Neill agreed to quash the case if Meteor donated the maximum fine of 5,000 Euros (£4,070) to the Temple Street Hospital by December 17.

Meanwhile, 3G's Ireland division chose not to contend three data protection offences for sending promotional emails, texts and phone calls. One of which was made to Deputy Data Protection Commissioner Gary Davis by a store manager on a "solo run".