ICO Rescinds £60,000 Fine For Alleged “Spam” Pay-day Loan Texts

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The ICO has rescinded a £60,000 monetary penalty notice (MPN) which was issued on July 6th 2018. The company, STS Commercial Ltd, was alleged to have allowed its telecom lines to be used for spam text messages for a pay day lender. However, STS Commercial Ltd appealed to the First-tier Tribunal (Information Rights) court and as a result the ICO undertook a secondary investigation and found that the original case was baseless.

The ICO stated: “On 6 July 2018 the ICO announced it had imposed a fine of £60,000 on STS Commercial Ltd for allowing its lines to be used to send spam texts.“

STS Commercial Ltd appealed that penalty and upon considering the grounds of appeal, the ICO accepts that the appeal should be allowed and no monetary penalty should be imposed. The ICO apologises to STS Commercial Ltd.”

STS Commercial stated: “We are pleased to announce that at the appeal, when presented with our grounds, the ICO has agreed to dispose of the Monetary Penalty, and to apologise to us officially on their website for their conduct in the investigation. We’ve always maintained that we did not do anything wrong. The conduct of the ICO’s dealings fell short of what would be expected from an ICO investigation. The decision by the ICO to impose the Monetary Penalty was unreasonable in the circumstances and the conduct of her inquiries and the cavalier approach caused damage to our reputation, and could have resulted in the loss of up to 20 jobs to the Welsh economy.”

The announcement outlined a much misunderstood legal framework. The First-tier Tribunal is a regulatory division of the Ministry of Justice. The FTT undertakes appeals for a range of sectors from pensions to copyright, including ICO regulatory affairs. To find our more and to start an appeal you can visit this informative article highlighting the appeals process and more.

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