Fine  

Pension transfer firm fined for sending spam emails

Pension transfer firm fined for sending spam emails

A Kent-based pension transfer company has been fined £40,000 by the Information Commissioner's Office after sending almost two million direct marketing emails to people without their consent.

According to the ICO, Grove Pension Solutions sent these emails in 2016 and 2017 as part of a marketing campaign.

The company had sought specialist advice from a data protection consultancy as well as independent legal advice about the use of hosted marketing.

However, the advice proved to be inaccurate and the ICO found that its marketing activity fell foul of the regulations.

The law says that organisations cannot generally send marketing emails unless the recipient has given them their consent to receive them.

This also applies to organisations using third parties to send direct marketing on their behalf, as was the case with Grove Pension Solutions.

Andy White, director of investigations and intelligence at the ICO, said spam email "uses people's personal data unlawfully, filling up their inboxes and promoting products and services which they don't necessarily want".

He added: "We acknowledge that Grove Pension Solutions Ltd took steps to check that their marketing activity was within the law, but received misleading advice. However, ultimately, they are responsible for ensuring they comply with the law and they were in breach of it. 

"The ICO is here to provide businesses with guidance about electronic marketing and data protection, free of charge. The company could have contacted us and avoided this fine."

The ICO is also in charge of enforcing the government's cold calling ban on pensions. It recently received powers to fine bosses of companies which plague people with unsolicited cold calls as much as £500,000.

Plans to ban cold calling, which include emails and texts, were announced in August 2017 and were introduced in January this year.

maria.espadinha@ft.com