Last month, Morrisons was chastised by the ICO for a similar breach when it emailed nearly 131,000 members of the Morrisons More loyalty scheme who were off limits. It escaped relatively lightly, however, with a £10,500 fine.
The fine was in sharp contrast to action taken against Flybe, which was hit for £70,000 in March for a similar “repermissioning” campaign, although Honda also escaped serious action with a £13,000 penalty.
Following an ICO investigation, Moneysupermarket was found to have sent 7.1 million emails over 10 days updating opted out customers with its terms and conditions.
Moneysupermarket’s email included a section entitled 'Preference Centre Update' which read: "We hold an email address for you which means we could be sending you personalised news, products and promotions. You've told us in the past you prefer not to receive these. If you'd like to reconsider, simply click the following link to start receiving our emails.”
ICO head of enforcement Steve Eckersley said: “Organisations can’t get around the law by sending direct marketing dressed up as legitimate updates.
“When people opt out of direct marketing, organisations must stop sending it, no questions asked, until such time as the consumer gives their consent. They don’t get a chance to persuade people to change their minds.
“Emails sent by companies to consumers under the guise of ‘customer service’, checking or seeking their consent, is a circumvention of the rules and is unacceptable. We will continue to take action against companies that choose to ignore the rules.”