The UK Information Commissioner’s Office has fined OSL Financial Consultancy Limited, a mortgage brokerage based in Lincolnshire, £50,000 for sending 174,342 nuisance marketing texts in contravention of Regulation 22 of the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003.
The ICO began investigating OSL, which does business as MortgageKey, following complaints by consumers claiming that they had received nuisance text messages from the company. The ICO found that OSL used for marketing purposes the personal data it had gathered from consumers who had contacted the company’s website to obtain a quote. The ICO concluded that OSL had not provided consumers with an opportunity to opt out of marketing, and had thus not obtained valid consent from the consumers to use their data to send marketing texts.
The ICO concluded that OSL should have been aware of its responsibilities regarding consumer data and customer consent, and that the company failed to take reasonable steps – such as establishing systems and procedures to ensure that it obtained specific consent, and recording evidence of such consent – to prevent the contraventions.